Tag Archives: busyness

Handpicked by Love

25 Apr

When work is maddening and I am angry at the world…

When I longingly look out on a gorgeous day from inside an office icebox…

When I rush yet again from one thing to the next, feeling frazzled and exhausted…

When I grumble that I have a job that I don’t feel passionate about…

This quote from Elisabeth Elliot’s book, Keep a Quiet Heart, helps me remember that God has lovingly handpicked the circumstances of my life:

“When there is a deep restlessness for which we find no explanation, it may be due to the greed of being – what our loving Father never meant us to be. Peace lies in the trusting acceptance of His design, His gifts, His appointment of place, position, capacity. It was thus that the Son of Man came to earth – embracing all that the Father will Him to be, usurping nothing – no work, not even a word – that the Father had not given Him.”

So often I cause the loss of my own peace by rejecting the life God has given me.

“This isn’t what I want” is the refrain that echos through my ungrateful heart.

A verse that I have been repeating to myself over and over is “The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord.” It reminds me that joy does not come from getting my own way. It doesn’t come from my life looking exactly like I think it should. It doesn’t come from deciding my own destiny, forging my own will, or determining my own struggles.

Joy comes from accepting.

Accepting that I’m not in control. That not being in control is a good thing. That even though my current circumstances seem to plead the contrary, God only has good things planned for me. 

But I can’t accept these things if I don’t have faith. Faith is believing that God will do what He has promised. Which turns my mind to another verse:

“I call out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me.”

Even on these days when it feels like life sucks, and I don’t know why I’m doing what I’m doing, and I feel like I’m spinning my wheels, I cling to the truth that God is RIGHT NOW fulfilling His purpose for me. My life has meaning. I am here for a reason, even if I don’t know what it is. I only need to focus on delighting in the LORD and He will accomplish the rest.

“He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.”

A Sabbath Rest

12 Apr

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about my inability to relax and have realized that I operate under the belief, “If I’m not productive, I’m worthless.” I’ve felt like I always have to be “on”, that’s there no excuse for me to ever not get something done if the only thing I was doing instead was nothing. Distorted thinking, I tell ya.

But, as with my food log, with knowledge comes power. Only once I recognize the reality of my situation and accept it, can I bring it before God to have Him change it. So that’s what I’m doing through prayer – and through observing the Sabbath.

I have often felt God call me to do the one thing that scares me the most. It freaks me out to think of an entire day in which I accomplish nothing. A day when the order of my house, the food in the fridge, and the piles of dirty clothes will stay exactly as they are from dawn until dusk. What will I do with all the time gained?

Reclaim my sanity.

This is, at its core, an an issue of faith. The question is, do I really trust that God is in charge of my life? If I do, then I can trust Him to work things out for my good, even while I take a break. I am not the one holding the plates in the air. I’m not the keeping our lives from imploding into piles of dust, dirt and mold.

But the very fact that I can’t take a break reveals that in reality, I believe I am indispensable.

So I see observing the Sabbath as a declaration of my spirit: I will, as terrifying as it is, put away my to-do list and relax, trusting God that everything will be ok.

“So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his” (Hebrews 4:9-10).

Training Recap: 4/2 – 4/8 & Unofficial Half PR!

9 Apr

This morning, I was so exhausted from the weekend and the past 5 days that I didn’t get up until 7:15. Picture me lying in bed with my battery-powered alarm clock resting on my chest under the comforter, my hand sitting on the snooze button, ready for the alarm that goes off every 3 minutes. Now picture that scene from 5:30 to 6:45, at which time I finally wised up and reset my alarm clock for 7:15. Apparently, even in a half comatose state, I’m stubborn and refuse to give up trying to get up early.

I was so tired because last week, I went straight from work to church functions Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (and rearranged my schedule to fit in runs). Saturday, I ran 13.1 miles with Heidi (more on that later), then proceeded to:

  • buy a salad spinner and steamer basket from Bed, Bath and Beyond
  • buy this skirt and these pants from Old Navy
  • go to Sports Authority (I had a 20% off coupon and found nothing to buy, what’s up with that? Travis is going to use it for new shorts)
  • go to the post office and grocery store
  • do laundry
  • make watergate salad for Easter lunch
  • walk the pooches

Yesterday, I walked the dogs before church, went to church, came home and got lunch stuff, went to Easter lunch, read Vogue for 2 hours (my sliver of relaxation), walked the dogs again, cleaned the house, made banana bread, and then relaxed with Travis and 2 glasses of Cab Sav. While I was walking the dogs, I realized that I still have a productivity complex – I cannot relax. Some people play now and work later. Others (like me) work now and play later. Only I never actually get to the later because the work is never done. There is always something more to do, something that catches my eye, “Oh I’ll just do this and then I’ll go relax.” Or if I go relax, I sit there bothered either mentally or visually by something that “needs to be done.”

So I’m pondering the idea of truly observing the Sabbath. Taking a day off. I’ll save the details for another post, but I’m thinking that I might need to “force” myself to relax a bit (which honestly, I never thought I would say).

Anyway, here’s what last week’s training looked like:

Monday: Rest (traveling back from Evansville)

Tuesday: 3.04 mile tempo run (30:52; 10:09/mile) + 20 min strength/physical therapy exercises

I ran the first mile in 9:42!

Wednesday: 6.09 mile hilly run (1:08:40, 11:16/mile)

Thursday: 20 min Pilates video + 3.04 mile easy-ish run (35:15; 11:35/mile)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 13.1 mile long run in 2:24:59 – an Unofficial Half Marathon PR! (personal record, for those of you who don’t speak Runner)

Sunday: Total of 4 miles walked with pooches (@ approx. 20:00/mile)

Total Miles Ran = 25.27

…………………..

So about that Unofficial Half Marathon PR… it was awesome.

The wonderful Miss Heidi joined me at Cherry Creek State Park for what was planned to be 12 miles (mapped out as 12.4). But then the run went so well (and quick with someone to talk to!) that she talked me into running a full 13.1. Not going to lie, the last 4 miles or so – and especially the last 2 – were challenging. I was very much over the rolling hills and my big toes were crying out for mercy. But as always, pushing myself past those mental hurdles is in the end totally worth it. Because I ended up dominating my official half marathon PR of 2:30:52 by almost 6 minutes! Might I also mention that that PR was set on the Colorado Half Marathon course, which kindly features an elevation loss of 1353 feet. This run was most definitely not that kind:

It’s actually only a difference of 100 feet elevation either way, but it looks impressive, no?

Heidi and I met up at 8:30 and probably got running around 9:00. No clouds in the sky, the sun was shining, and there was a nice little breeze that kept things from getting too hot out there (as there was no shade where we were running).

{Thanks for the pics Heidi!}

We met this big guy around mile 4.5:

And decided it was a good time to take pics, in case we forgot like we did last time:

A little after that, I took a Triberry Gu and decided that I definitely like the consistency of Clif Shots better. The Gu is too thick (even though it was tasty!).

Since we were running on new-to-us trails, we got a little lost and ended up turning around on our dog leg a little early (sorry about that Heidi!). We had to be a little creative at the end but it worked out okay. And because Heidi brought a real Garmin, I didn’t have to use my Poor Man’s GPS (which is good because I would’ve been really off!)

Here are our splits:

1 – 10:34
2 – 10:56
3 – 11:00
4 – 11:01
5 – 11:25 (hill!)
6 – 11:09
7 – 10:55
8 – 10:51
9 – 11:08
10 – 11:37 (hill!)
11 – 11:28 (dying!)
12 – 11:01
13 – 10:44
.1 – 1:05

13.1 miles in 2:24:59, average pace of 11:04

I am completely ecstatic about this pace and it gives me hope of running an Official Half Marathon PR in the Platte River Half this coming Sunday!

Anywho, I am convinced that the best way to recover from a long run is to keep moving. I kept myself busy after this run and have had very minimal soreness and stiffness. Being productive on Saturdays, even after long runs, will also hopefully help me reserve Sundays for rest and relaxation.

Tonight I have to burn through the rest of The Tipping Point because it’s due at the library tomorrow and I can’t renew it (for a second time) because someone else has it on hold. I just might be incurring a few more library fines so that I can finish it…

So much to do and so little time. The story of my life.

Are you more prone to relaxation or productivity?

Embracing my limits.

22 Mar

{source – a great blog that you should check out!}

I’m sure you’ve all heard the popular saying “No Limits.” People don’t like limits. We want to do it all, be it all, and have it all, and no one can tell us otherwise… including ourselves.

My perfectionist personality by definition struggles with this condition. Doing it right means doing it all. If I can’t do it all, I’m failing.

For years, I lamented that I couldn’t attain the standard I was striving for. There was always more I felt I should be doing, ways I was failing, things I should have been better at. Things I didn’t, in actuality, care about, but things I thought I should care about.

And here’s what God has been teaching me: I have limits. And I can embrace them.

I have come to grips with the fact that I will never be the sum of the character traits and attributes that I admire in other people. The things that I admire most about other people, I admire because I am not like that. For example, I admire people who have big-picture visions for companies, programs, plans, etc. They are doing important things that matter, and because I respect that, I start thinking that maybe I should be more like that. But then I start feeling discouraged and insufficient because… I just don’t think I could do that.

I’m a detail-oriented person. I love focusing on the tactical, how-does-this-actually-get-done kind of details, not the where-d0-we-go-from-here and what-is-our-1o-year-plan kind. It’s where I thrive, where I find my passion. When I’m looking at details, I can get lost for hours and realize I worked through lunch. That’s who I am. So it makes sense that I wouldn’t be a big picture type of person. And you know what? The world needs both kinds. If we were all big picture thinkers, nothing would ever actually get done. And if we were all detail-oriented, we’d all be working but not know what we were working toward.

I’m learning that my schedule also has limits. As much as I would love to be involved and volunteer more, I have come to accept that I can’t right now. That acceptance has been a long time coming. I always thought I should be able to “do more”, like those people who seem to be involved in everything. Over the past month or so, though, I’ve realized that not only am I a person who hates being incredibly busy, I also don’t have that much free time.

Take the typical work day: I wake up at 5:30 and spend an hour and a half reading the Bible and working on my book. Then I get ready for work, eat breakfast and am out the door by 8:30. I get home from work around 5:30, run, stretch, make dinner, watch maybe an hour of TV or read blogs, and go to bed around 9:00. If it’s a Tuesday or Wednesday, there’s a good chance we have a church meeting that starts at 6 or 7 and goes until 8:30. So there’s no bandwidth during the week for “more.”

That leaves the weekends. A month ago, I was still feeling like I wanted to be more involved, so I asked God to show me how I could get more involved at church on my very limited schedule. Not more than a week later, I was asked to do the graphic design for the Sunday morning overhead slides. A huge answer to prayer! I can create the slides on Saturday, when it works for me, and I still get to serve. Things were going well.

Then I was asked if I wanted to design some materials for a conference they’re putting on in April. I thought about it, and even though I wasn’t sure I had the time, I said yes. Ever since then, that project has been hanging over my head and stressing me out. Not because it’s going to be time-intensive necessarily, or because I don’t want to do it, but because I have stretched myself too thin.

I was complaining to God yesterday morning on my drive to work about how stressed and overwhelmed I felt. And as I told Him that, I realized that I felt that way because I had overstepped my limits. I have time and energy for creating the slides, but anything beyond that is adding too much. So I am going to finish designing these materials, but let them know that I can’t help out in the future, unless something changes.

God doesn’t intend for us to do it all. He doesn’t want us to even attempt to do it all, because all we achieve is running ourselves ragged and being stretched so thin we’re ready to snap like a dry rubber band. Why would we want to do that? I know for myself, I do it because I think I “should.” I should be busy, I should be serving, I should be giving.

This is just one more aspect of learning to walk with God through every moment of every day – learning that God will lead us into what we should be doing. We can stop worrying about the future. Stop worrying about the big picture. Focus on the moment. Leave the rest with God. Anticipate His blessing on our lives because Christ won Him over for us on the cross. And rest in His sovereignty in all things, His sufficiency for sin and failure, and His love for the people He created us to be.

“For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14)

Do you accept your limits?

Training Recap: 2/27 – 3/4

5 Mar

Yesterday, after we got home from church, I turned on my Harry Potter audiobook and deep cleaned our kitchen. The book kept me entertained enough that I powered through cleaning the microwave, refrigerator, freezer, the front of our cabinets, and the OVEN (that has needed to be done since we moved in 3.5 years ago). Now whenever I use the oven, I will think about the first lesson that Hagrid taught at Hogwart’s about Hippogriffs, because that was the story plot as I fumigated the kitchen with oven cleaner. (Am I the only one who can remember stuff like that?)

Even though I really dislike the act of cleaning, I love the aftermath. A clean house just makes me happy.

What else makes me happy is my second full week of marathon training. Life threw a few curveballs of busyness last week but I fought back.

Monday: 1.5 mile run on track (18:45, 12:30/mile)

This was when I almost got killed by brussel sprouts.

Tuesday: 3.6 mile tempo run (40:09, 10:54/mile)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 4 mile run – 3 miles moderate (33:00, 11:00/mile), 1 mile time trial (9:42)

I wanted to do a speed workout this night, but since my long run on Saturday was going to be a tough one, I decided to do most of the run easy, and then do a 1 mile time trial. I definitely could have gone faster but I had to slow down for a car or two, and I was feeling some acid reflux. After Monday, I was still a little spooked. I seriously need to start eating Tums before each and every run I go on. But I feel like 9:42 is a good starting point.

Friday: 50 min P90X Yoga

Saturday: 7.94 mile hilly long run (1:27:27, 11:00/mile)

Sunday: 10 mile bike ride (45 min)

Finally, I got to ride my bike outside! It was 60* yesterday and sunny. It felt just like spring. I’m loving every minute of it and ignoring the Debbie Downers who keep telling me that March is usually Colorado’s snowiest month. A girl can dream, right?

Riding outside also means that I got to test out my new bike setup. The verdict is: meh. The seat was comfortable enough for 10 miles but I can’t envision me doing 40-50 miles on it. And for some reason, my back still really hurt after 5 miles. We took a break and I could barely stand up straight. If any of you out there know more about bikes than I do, is that just my back needing to get used to that, or is my bike fitted incorrectly?

Total Running Miles: 17.16

………………………

Finally, can I just say that this is the most annoying ad EVER?

The lady on the right sneezes and blows the entire calendar over. What’s so annoying is that you have to wait for the ad to run before you can do anything. Ugh. I would have expect that such a craptastic display of marketing ingenuity would come from Aetna. Have I ever told you how much I hate them?

And on that note, Monday is over! I have a work meeting tomorrow from 7 am to 7 pm so I probably won’t post. But it’s not that bad because they’re feeding us breakfast, lunch and dinner, AND since I’m a contractor and can only work 40 hours a week, I get to jet early on Friday. I won’t argue with that!

Busyness is the new black.

8 Feb

Yesterday, I hit a milestone at my job: I worked the entire day. I didn’t even check my gmail. (I decided to end that streak today.)

Things have picked up here big time and it feels so good to finally be involved, contributing, bettering the company that I’m working for instead of just schleping a paycheck home every week.

Since my blogging time has now become work time (and rightly so), I’m back to the ever-a-struggle of finding time to blog during non-work hours. Which has been tough so far this week…

Monday night, I was excused from a workout by spending an hour and a half at the vet just for Katy to get her heartworm shot. I swear, going to the vet is even worse than going to the doctor. And my dogs go to the doctor more often than I do! Completely. ridiculous.

Last night, I raced home after work for a quick 2 mile run with the pooches and then did the first 30 minutes of P90X Yoga before heading to my church for a book study. I helped clean up afterward so I didn’t get home until 10:30 – waaaay past my bedtime. But somehow, I still managed to wake up this morning at 5:15 without an alarm. This has happened to me a lot lately. How does my body know what time to get up even when I go to bed later than usual? It boggles my mind.

Speaking of that 2 mile run, I wore my new Speedy Bullet jacket for the first time. And I am totally convinced it was worth the hefty price tag. My biggest concern about the jacket was that it wouldn’t be warm enough but it was 25 degrees on my run yesterday and with just a long-sleeve running shirt under the jacket, I felt perfect. Even, perhaps, slightly too warm (though I’m not complaining). This means I don’t have to dress like the Abdominal Snowman anymore!

Even though I was very impressed with my new coat, I was not impressed with the running trail.

My choices of running terrain were: 3 inches of snow or black ice. I actually didn’t mind running through the snow but the ice scared the crap out of me. And of course, the pooches were pulling me along wondering why I was being so slow. I’m ashamed to say that after at least 10 yanks on Katy’s leash, I used it as a rein to slap her butt so that she’d slow down and not pull me over. It worked… but she was not happy.

To switch topics in a completely random way, I have a new favorite breakfast.

Mix 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats with water and microwave. Add 1/2 tbsp peanut butter and 1/2 tbsp raspberry jam and stir until blended. Add 1 tbsp vanilla protein powder and 1 tbsp ground flaxseed; stir until blended. Top with 1/4 cup freeze dried strawberries, fresh blueberries and Fiber One cereal. Mmmm…

This idea was inspired by Run Eat Repeat and Clean Eating Chelsey – they always get creative with their breakfasts. I like that this keeps me fuller for longer than just plain cereal, but it’s also a way to get my cereal fix. It’s a win-win!

What’s your favorite way to eat oatmeal?

Setting the Record Straight

26 Jan

A little-known tidbit about me: I can’t read cooking blogs. The pictures are fun to look at and the recipes look delicious but they just make me overwhelmed. I even feel slightly intimidated by the cookbooks I own. Some people thrive on options; I do not. They just make me feel like there’s too much to do, and too little time.

I also felt overwhelmed yesterday while reading the blogs I regularly follow. Reading about productive weekends full of baking, cleaning, organizing, family time, long runs, Crossfit workouts, and fun dates instantly brings back an old familiar feeling: I’m not doing enough.

I’ve been thinking about this lately because a good (IRL) friend of mine who occasionally reads my blog remarked that I seem to have a lot of things going on in an effort to improve my life (like not eating sweets for a month, limiting my laziness, reading 25 books, and training for a marathon). I dismissed her comment saying, “It’s really not that much; it probably seems like more on the blog.”

I don’t really consider myself an ambitious person. In high school and college, I did what was required of me with excellence (I did graduate from both with honors) but I didn’t go above or beyond that.

Instead of being an overachiever, I guess I was just an achiever. I never had an internship. I never volunteered or got involved in any kind of club. In fact, I somehow graduated as a member of the National Honors Society in high school, even though I never attended a meeting and only did 2 volunteer hours (I think something like 30 were required?). In my defense, I tried to return my medal but they wouldn’t take it from me.

I’m fairly certain that I’ve gotten where I am in life by being anal, not ambitious. While fellow classmates in high school were reading Cliff’s Notes in lieu of The Scarlet Letter and The Grapes of Wrath, I read every single page of every single book, including the Foreword if there was one. Partly because I actually enjoyed reading and partly because I couldn’t live with myself knowing that I hadn’t actually read the book.

Until recently, I had to finish every book I started reading, even if it was crap, just because “it bothered me” to start and not finish. (Now I know that life is too short to read bad books.)

My house is clean and organized because my personality can’t stand clutter and mess.

I don’t stop in the middle of a project, even if it’s mindnumbingly tedious, because I am stubborn.

When we first moved into our apartment in Boulder, I refused to let Travis store stuff under our bed and futon because not storing stuff in an actual closet bothered me. After a couple hours trying to cram things into the 3 tiny closets of our apartment, I saw the folly of my ways. (Although, I have to admit that storing things under the bed still bothers me. If you’re wondering if I’m annoying to live with, my husband would say no, but really mean yes.)

So why am I explaining this to you?

Well, you’ve probably heard people discussing the effects of social media on relationships today. It’s easy to project this perfect image of your life, because you get to pick and choose what people see and what people don’t. I think the same thing goes for blogs. It’s easy to post only the positive, happy things that happen in your life in the name of “making your blog positive” because people “come there to be entertained.” I personally don’t agree with that philosophy but I think it can happen without our realizing. It’s human nature to want to share happy news with others, but shrink back with bad news. You don’t want to blog just to complain, or tell about pathetically boring your day was, or relay how you behaved in a way you’re ashamed of (like throwing something at your husband or eating an entire box of cereal in one sitting).

So I just want to set the record straight: I haven’t checked off an item on my daily To-Do list all week until today (and that only because I had an appointment to get a new passport), I’m feeling slightly sick and majorly lazy, I haven’t walked my dogs in a few days, last night I ate my way through the cupboard before eating dinner trying to fill the chocolate-shaped hole in my heart, I’m having a hard time adjusting to having actual work to do at work, and my big toe is sticking out of the sock I’m wearing. I’m not perfect. I don’t have it all together. I have lots of big ideas and want to live my life intentionally but sometimes (or perhaps, often), I just need a glass of wine, Desperate Housewives, and a night on the couch. And I’m pretty sure other bloggers do too.

Would you consider yourself ambitious? Do you tend to be productive or relaxed with your free time?