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What I Learned This Spring

I’m always baffled by the fact that summer doesn’t technically begin until late June, when the summer solstice occurs.

I mean, 1) School is out, and also 2) it hit the upper 90’s (F) here this week.

So, even though I am aware the calendar doesn’t doesn’t support my conclusion, spring has come and gone in my book.

Emily P. Freeman agrees with me.  This week I’m joining her seasonal practice of looking back on what I’ve learned this spring (ie. March – May.)

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Reflecting on Three Years of Uncertainty

This week, Facebook Memories informed me that we’ve officially reached the third anniversary of our move to North Carolina.

Three years ago Thursday we saw our house for the first time.  We took a trip to Wal-Mart for curtains (our master windows face the street…curtains were a crucial first purchase) and slept on the floor while we awaited our household goods shipment.

In about a month or so, we will come up on another three-year anniversary.  The anniversary of the day our entire path began to shift in ways we never saw coming.

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When Life Seems Crazy, Stick to the Basics

I’ve been in a fog, or a funk, or some other kind of situation where I can’t seem to get myself together enough to actually function.

On second thought, maybe that’s just called the first trimester of pregnancy.

In any case, I haven’t been feeling very motivated, creative, or productive. (Though, technically, at the moment I’m both of the latter things, despite not being the former. So take THAT, negative inner-critic.)

When life is like this, it feels interminable.  Like slogging through mud or sitting in Honolulu traffic. (Side note: everyone dreams about going to Hawaii…as someone who lived there for three years let me tell you, it’s one of the most gorgeous places on Earth.  Also, the traffic is the literal worst.)

My only advice for these seasons is to just get through it.  And I do that by sticking to the basics and letting the other things go.

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An Introverted Mom Prepares for Summer

Fifteen.  That’s how many days are left before my high-energy, ultra-extroverted, go-go-go girl’s preschool year ends.

No more little friends for her to play with every day.  No more structured activities and fun crafts, led by patient preschool teachers.  No more playground just outside, where she can run off energy and pick flowers and swing.

No more quiet mornings to listen to my podcasts in peace.  No more solo grocery shopping.  No more guaranteed hours to write, or clean, or read a book, or nap.

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Consistency in an Unexpected Season

Last week I wrote about my Word for Spring: consistency.  I talked about my April Tending List from my Powersheets Goal Planner.  I started out the month with high hopes to practice increased focus and consistency so as to create space for intentional rest.

What I didn’t say last week (though my mom pointed out a subliminal hint in the last line of the post…totally unintentional) is that just a couple weeks ago, we got a big surprise.

I’m pregnant!

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Decisions, Decisions – Spring 2019 Edition

I’m starting a new feature, which might end up occurring monthly, quarterly, seasonally, or (let’s be honest) randomly whenever I need a quick topic on a Thursday before the blog is supposed to go out on Friday.

Since I have claimed the moniker The Indecisive Mama, I thought I’d pop in every once in awhile to tell you about decisions I’ve actually made with some success.

Sometimes celebrating the small victories gives us the boost we need to tackle the bigger issues.

So without further ado, here are some of my better decisions so far in 2019.

Late Afternoon Bath Time

With Dave’s massive schoolwork load these days (literally, he works for hours every night after being in classes all day) I’ve taken on the bulk of the evening tasks: cooking, kitchen cleanup, lunch making, coffee-pot prep, and Abby’s bedtime.

Needless to say, anything that lessens this load is a no-brainer.

Enter, late afternoon baths.

Here’s a Mom Confession: I’ve never been a huge fan of bath time.  And when I’m tired and just ready to get the Abster down for the night, taking the time to bathe her seems massively overwhelming.

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Afternoon baths, on the other hand, are a blast!  I fill up the huge garden tub in our master bathroom, dump in bubbles and a dozen Lego people, and she will splash and play and sing in front of the mirror for at least half-an-hour.  During which time, I can work at my desk (right there in the master bedroom), fold laundry, clean the bathroom, or even grab a shower myself.

And the best part: as soon as dinner is over, she can get herself into pajamas while I clean up the kitchen, and once she’s in bed, I can usually clock-out for the night.

Why didn’t I try this sooner?

Change Your Life Chicken

I’ve been a faithful listener of  The Lazy Genius Podcast with Kendra Adachi for quite awhile now, but last week was the first time I made her signature recipe, Change Your Life Chicken.

We consider ourselves (ok, we consider Dave) to be more than adept at cooking chicken. But this recipe absolutely lived up to it’s name. Super tasty chicken, amazing crispy veggies.  I could eat this every day.

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(Side note: Kendra recommends chicken thighs.  I used a whole chicken, butterflied, because it was what I had in the freezer, and it turned out amazing.)

You can find the recipe on her blog here or listen to her podcast episode where she goes into excruciatingly helpful detail about the process.

Making a Budget with EveryDollar

So, this is not a new decision, I’ve written about it before.  But this month it really paid off.

Literally, because we paid off our credit card debt!!!

I can not overstate how much having a budget has reduced my stress level.  I did not realize the extent of the effect it had on me, being unsure about where our money was going.

This program is so easy to set up and so simple to use. Dave and I have had more than one “budget meeting” while driving in the car.

If you’ve never used it, try it out for free here.  We actually pay the $10/month for the subscription version and it’s worth every penny.  I truly can’t recommend it highly enough.

Setting an Early Alarm 

Again, this isn’t a new decision, but it’s one I had to recommit to doing in the past couple weeks.  With the change in Dave’s schedule, our typical morning looks slightly different than it did a few months ago.  I had been letting myself sleep in a little later, dawdle a little longer…and I was feeling the affects: feeling exasperated with Abby when she woke up, always rushing around at the last minute…I knew I had to get back to my old habits.

So two weeks ago I moved my phone alarm up by 30 minutes.  Now, when it goes off, I’m motivated to get moving and out of the bedroom quickly, so I don’t disturb Dave’s last half-hour of sleep.  I lay out my robe and socks the night before, so I can grab them as I tiptoe out to the coffee pot, and then grab a blanket, my Bible, and my journal.

It seems ridiculous, and I can’t even explain it, but that extra 30 minutes makes all the difference.  By the time Abby wakes up (even if she’s up earlier than usual) I’m in a positive frame of mind to give her some snuggles, make her breakfast, and get after making the bed, unloading the dishwasher, and getting ready for the day.  I’ve even started to regularly get in a workout and shower before we need to leave for preschool. It’s truly a miracle.

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Phone-free Mornings

This is another decision contributing to my happier mental state in the mornings, I’m sure.  I set the goal this month to take one hour each morning before I opened my phone to check email, social media, news, podcasts, etc.

I do use the phone as my alarm, to see which chapters I’m reading in my Chronological Bible plan, and to play music, but other than those things, I try to leave it off.

I’m doing my Bible reading in a new Journaling Bible that I really love, and I find having a pen in hand and place to write notes engages my brain in way simply reading from my phone screen does not.

It should probably be obvious, but not giving myself the option to turn on the phone has helped me engage in more focused prayer, journaling, and Bible study.  It’s one of those seemingly tiny things with huge ripple effects.

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Writing About Hard Things

You might have noticed (or maybe not) that I didn’t put up a new post last week.  I had one in the works.  In fact, it’s still sitting in my Drafts folder.  But it wasn’t coming together and I was very frustrated.

I took a break to make dinner, and the Holy Spirit prompted me, “This isn’t what you’re supposed to be writing.  I told you what to write and you haven’t written it yet.”

I was convicted, and also apprehensive.

Because what God asked me to write is not something I want to write. I don’t feel qualified. It’s uncomfortable.  It’s probably going to make some people mad.  All reasons I’d really prefer to just stick to the status quo.

But like Jeremiah, the words the Lord wants me to speak are like fire trapped in my bones.

So I’m working on a post, which will probably come out in a few weeks.

To be frank, it won’t be fun to write and probably won’t be much fun to read.

But I’ve decided to write it and publish it, because in 2019 I committed to embracing discomfort, speaking up, and stewarding my voice for His glory.

Stay tuned.

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100 Day Project

Exactly one year ago this week, I created The Indecisive Mama Instagram account.   It was a little test, to see if I had enough words in me to justify starting this blog. (Spoiler alert: turns out I have so. many. words.)

I kicked off the account by participating in the 100 Day Project, where I committed to posting something on @theindecisivemama every day for 100 days.

This year, the 100 Day Project begins on April 2.  For my second challenge, I’m taking a more analog approach and revisiting a hobby I’ve let slide a bit while I’ve been focused on blogging.

Every day for 100 days I’ll be practicing hand-lettering and posting about it in my Stories.  (I’ll also probably save them to a Highlight, so I can keep them all together.)

I look forward to seeing what kind of progress I can make with consistent daily practice.  I hope you’ll come over and follow along!

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Decisions: Made!

Well there you have it!  Those are the decisions I’ve made that are making a difference in my days.  I hope you’ve made some positive decisions too!  Leave a comment and tell me about it!

 

 

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Be Where You Are

When Dave and I began discussing marriage, he was already in the process of joining the Army.  I had plenty of time to decide if life as a military spouse was something I was ready and willing to commit to.  While 20-year-old Jessica probably wouldn’t have even entertained the idea, the previous seven years living on my own, far away from my family, prepared me in ways I couldn’t imagine for the life I was headed towards.  By age 27, when the decision point arrived, I was ready to be open minded.

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On Stewarding My Time and Being a Work In Progress

One of the challenges I’m finding in writing this Stewardship Series is my general internal sense that I need to have a problem completely figured out and broken down into comprehensive bullet points before I share about it publicly.  The idea of sharing incorrect information or steering someone the wrong way makes my insides go all squirmy.

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Stewarding My Physical Health : The FASTer Way

This post is Part 3 of the Stewardship Series.  If you missed them, be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 on Stewarding My Physical Health.

If you’ve been reading along about my journey to steward my physical health, you know why I’m starting my year of stewardship with losing weight: this is, for me, as much a spiritual issue as it is an issue of diet and exercise.

Today I want to talk about how I’m approaching the challenge to steward my physical and spiritual health, here in the early months of 2019.  For the past 4 weeks, I’ve been participating in the FASTer Way to Fat Loss.

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