Rest

I did not set my alarm this morning.

Not a terribly shocking statement, I know, until I think about the fact that this has probably happened less than half a dozen times since August.

To say that it has been busy is a bit of an understatement.  School has been great – I have an amazing group of students this year.  Cross Country season was good as well, and I enjoyed my time with both my own middle school team and the high school team.  And keeping up with my son who is a senior this year keeps me moving.

But seriously, I blinked and suddenly it was Thanksgiving break.

I may or may not have slept.  I’m not sure.  It is a bit of a blur.

I know I missed doing some stuff, and I am pretty sure that I am behind on doing things around my house.  And working on this blog – I cannot even tell you when I thought about it last.  Facebook reminded me that I have ignored it for a while.

But I do know that it is time to take a break, not just to catch up on the things that I have set aside, but to truly rest.  My tired is exhausted, and I have needed a nap since sometime in October.

Rest.

One of my favorite arias from Handel’s Messiah is based on Matthew 11: 28:

Come unto Him, all ye that labor

Come unto Him, ye that are heavy laden

And He will give you rest.

It is time to rest, reflect, and recharge for the next round.  I am grateful for the strength and endurance and patience that the Lord has given me to get me through this season of get it all done.  And although I am terrible at resting, I am grateful that He gives me this time as well.

So there is no guilt about not setting that alarm.  I may not even set it tomorrow…

Last Thoughts – All Done by December 01

It is the day before Christmas, and did “All Done by December 01” work?  How did I do?

Not too bad.  Here is what was accomplished:

  1.  Shopping was done early.  I did not spend much time at all in the big box stores – one trip in and out.  OHMYGOSH that was so nice.
  2. Calendar was set early in the game, and we pretty much stuck to it.  This made it easier for my poor husband, who has a very strange work schedule, and hates missing events or running late to get there.  He was able to make events because we planned in advance.
  3. Cards were ordered a bit late, and they are going out a bit late.  Some people may be getting them close to New Year’s.  The fault on that on is mine.  We had the cards at the end of the first week in December, but I did not get them addressed and sent out in time.  I think next year, I will do labels to make the process faster.
  4. Meals were made in advance and frozen.  I also planned meals so that I could shop efficiently and make the best use of my coupons.  The drive through was not an option.
  5. I have not decorated every horizontal surface in my house.  I am feeling far less cluttered, and it will not take nearly as long to take all of this stuff down.
  6. I scheduled time just for me – not so that I could run around doing errands, but so that I could run. I had been training for months, but I still needed the time to train for a half marathon. I ran it last weekend, and beat my old time by over an hour.

The system does work, and despite being behind on the cards, it did give me the valuable gift of time.  Not only have we been able to do a few extra fun things as a family, it gave my son breathing room during those difficult last few weeks of school.  Those last few weeks are when there are tests and projects and finals in all of the class, which all demand attention and time.  This year, he had that.

Are there things I would do differently next year?  Sure.

I would order cards earlier and make labels.

I would wrap gifts along the way.

I would start brainstorming and shopping earlier next year, just to take even more pressure off.

But I absolutely will do this again next year.

It is December 01 – Am I All Done?

Well, here it is at the deadline – December 01.  Am I all done?

Honestly, not exactly, but I am pretty darn close.

I am down to two gifts – one of which I just need to call and order on Monday.  Yes, indeedy, call and order; this organization does not do online sales.  No biggie.  I can use a phone.  The other I am still trying to narrow down.  It is coming along, though.  And if I am at this date and have so few gifts left to purchase, I am calling it a win.

Cards are ordered and will not take long to get ready to be sent out.

Calendar is mapped out and we have taken time off for our own time together.  I even have a few races scheduled so I have a reason to keep training during this season.

Several nights worth of meals are in the freezer.  Plus the food for lunches this week is already prepared and in the fridge.

So I am heading back to school today for the last three weeks of the semester.  That, in and of itself, is pretty hectic.  Not having the additional pressure of having to “do Christmas stuff” is going to make a world of difference again this year.  I will have that valuable time in the evenings and on weekends to spend with friends and family, and not running through the mall in a panic trying to find that perfect gift. That was what was important to me this year.

Hoping that your All Done by December 01 worked well for you, and that you truly enjoy this less stressful Christmas season.

Take Control of Your Christmas Calendar

Here it comes – the Christmas season is beginning and so is the busyness that always seems to go along with it.  I mentioned in a previous blog that I would talk a little bit more about taking control of your own calendar, so here it is.

So many people, myself included, attend events because we are expected to do so.  And also attending these events is a myriad of people who we know and love, know and don’t love, don’t know, and some we don’t want to know.  Yet, we are there because we are expected to be there.  Why is that?  Who places this expectation on us?  Someone else?  Ourselves?  And there is the really big question – what would happen if for one year we did not attend the event when we were expected to be there?  What if we finally said that we could not make it this year?

I’m going to make the guess that the Earth would not open up and swallow us whole, we would probably not be shunned, and no one would send the flying monkeys out to get us.

More often than not, if we were really honest with ourselves, we would acknowledge the fact that other people are expected to attend said party as well and are not there.  Maybe they took at night out with their kids.  Maybe they had tickets to something.  Or maybe they just said to heck with the craziness and had a night in.

The Earth did not swallow them, they will not be shunned, and no one is sending out the flying monkeys to get them.

So why can’t we let the same rules apply to ourselves?  This is not a scorecard type of life, where we win if we do the most stuff expected of us.

All of this to say – setting boundaries is not selfish or wrong.  It is actually one of the sanest and loving things that you can do for you and your family.  You are sending the clear message that you and your family are important, and you have to take time for that – time that is not running from one place to another.

So block out time on your calendar – time for you and the people with whom you choose to spend this special season.

And this year, you take control of your calendar, instead of letting control you.

Giving Thanks Today and Beyond

On this day of Thanksgiving, take time out this day to really think about what you are truly thankful for in your life.  Not the stuff, but the people and relationships and positive things that you have seen in your life. Even the negative stuff that taught you how to be a better person.

On the day after Thanksgiving, do the same thing.

On the day after that, do the same thing again.

Keep going – day after day after day – and you will see how truly blessed you really are.

Don’t limit yourself to one day or one month of thanksgiving, but make it a way of life.

All Done by December 01 – Week 6

So here we are at the last week in this process, and there is relatively little left to do.  This is especially true for me, since I used to not start this until after I was out of school for the semester, which sometimes left a matter of days to get all of this done.

Which leads me to the last week…now that most of this process is complete, what do you really want to focus on this season?  What is truly important to you and your family?

More and more I am finding that time is the most important focus for the season.  We tend to get caught up in being busy, rushing from place to place, thing to thing, and one school event to the next, that we tend to end up feeling more stress than joy.  The joy comes in the time to enjoy the relationships you have with people, and not just checking something off of a list.

I love having the time with my family and friends.  We don’t have to be doing anything fancy – just being together is plenty.  We can hang out in our pajamas and watch Christmas shows, and that is so much more meaningful that any trip to the mall.

So go ahead determine your focus for the season, and what is really important to you to make memories.  Don’t be afraid to reclaim your calendar, and make decisions that are in the best interest of your family (more on that next week).

And most importantly, enjoy your Christmas!

Charlie Brown Thanksgivng – How Was It?

I cannot express how proud I was of the Student Council kids yesterday.  From the moment I was visible in the halls in the morning, they wanted to know what they could do and when they could start doing it.  When they were dismissed from class, they came running into the cafeteria, grabbed supplies, and started decorating.  They had the cafeteria decorated in ten minutes.  Then, they got silly.  That is normal.  But the cafeteria looked amazing, and they were so pleased.

The reaction of the students was priceless.  They were so appreciative of the decorations, the movie, and the effort that the Student Council had put into doing this.  I heard NOT ONE negative comment, which if you teach middle school or have a middle school child, is pretty darn impressive.  The cafeteria was relatively quiet, as some of the students saw “Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” for the very first time.

For some of them, it was not the first time to watch the movie, and it was delightful to watch the joy on their faces as they watched it again.  Some middle schoolers are not terribly expressive, so it was fun to watch their faces light up.

My Student Council kids felt appreciated, and as if they had made a difference.

They cannot wait to do this again for Christmas…

To tell the truth, neither can I…