Wednesday, February 27, 2013

And Like All Good Things . . .

. . . February is coming to an end.

The end of "winter" weather where we wear long pants and sweaters almost every day.

The end of late sunrises that encourage kids to sleep late.

The end of "every day is park day" sunshine without sweat.
Brad is the monkey in the middle. See the rugby ball above his head?  He stayed there for a while.

The end of allergy season (not really mourning that one, although this year has been exceptionally mild).

The end of soft rain and cold cold two-blanket nights.
If you live anywhere else but here, March signals the possibility of spring--the whole "in like a lion, out like a lamb" thing--but if you live in Arizona, you see March as the beginning of the end, because temperatures in the 80s and 90s and 100s (and 110s) are lurking somewhere in our immediate future. (I remember it hitting 100 during the second week of March one year.)

I thought that today, February 28th, was as good a time as any to update you on my word of the year and how I've been doing with my resolution to act with purpose, to control my reactions, and to act on inspiration to serve others, one-twelfth of a teaspoon at a time.

One particular moment sticks with me from this last month.  I was pushing Evie through Sam's Club on one of those major shopping excursions I take twice monthly, and I remember the thought crossing my mind that I had been lax in my efforts to find ways to serve others.  I uttered a quick prayer in my heart, asking God to help me recognize those moments where I could be helpful.  I loaded the kid and the stuff in the Suburban, and not two blocks later, I was rear-ended at a stop light.  No one was hurt, but when I got out to look at the car, I saw a few dents on my car and fluid and steam pouring out of the silver Explorer behind me.  A young woman, no more than eighteen, was apologizing and making sure we were okay.  We proceeded through the light and turned into the closest parking lot where we inspected both vehicles.  This young lady--Kelsey--was so upset that she had tears rolling down her cheeks, and her trembling hands dropped her cell phone twice as she tried to call her mom.  Instinctively, I reached out and gave her a quick, tight hug and told her everything was okay.  No one was hurt, and it was just a car.  I could hear her mother on the other end of the call, consoling her daughter and saying she would be there quickly.  After taking her information, I gave her another hug and told her all would be well.

When I got back in my Suburban, I realized the service I had offered her--no judgment, no guilt, no anger, just compassion and kindness.  I had added 1/12th of a teaspoon that morning, and I was filled with gratitude that I could see how I had helped her through a scary time. One day I hope a total stranger will extend such kindness to one of my children in a similar situation.
Sling or no sling, this boy still has some killer light saber moves, even left handed

These last two weeks I've found myself slipping back into some old habits, and I don't like what I see.  I found one lazy day dragging its feet into day two--and once even to a third day--where I muddled through without accomplishing much of anything important.  I have been reacting more than acting, and since I had shown noticeable improvement in that respect during January, my sudden unkind reactions have surprised my family--and me, too.  Every time it happens, I recognize the latent old me, swimming to the surface for just enough breath to hide beneath the surface again for a while.

Although I've slipped in my commitments to myself, and I did experience 1-2 days where I berated myself for my weakness and backsliding, I have come to a new place within myself. We are all human, we all make mistakes, we all relapse on occasion; the task is to remain positive and redirect your efforts at your goal. I see that I have another barrier facing me, and I can either belittle myself for my weakness (what I would have endlessly done before), or I can rise to the challenge and act with more purpose and deeper resolve.  I have found that there is power in this retailored thinking, not that the circumstances have changed, but my attitude towards them has.
 I am up for it.

March--Bring it on.


  1. Love this post Jen.

    Its so hard to keep at it...but realizing your slipping is half the battle, right:)

  2. love this jen. i need to revisit my've encouraged me to do so. (and i love how you reacted to that poor girl-it's so scary to get in an accident and i picture my daughter just bursting into tears and then to have someone treat her with kindness instead of berating her-thank god there are nice people like you out there!)

  3. Resolutions are resolves to change...real change comes through practice. So there ya go. Keep on keepin' on.
    As for the warm weather headed your way...I had a homebirth there in April ' was actually very nice to be able to walk around the backyard having contractions and smelling the orange blossoms. I'll never forget that. We did have to run the a/c though. lol

  4. Love these photos! Bishop Brad playing with the kids and stealing a quick kiss from Evie! :)

  5. Ugh! It was a hundred the second week in March last year here in Texas. I cried. Four seasons are important to me--wonder why I live here then. But AZ? That's a whole new ball of wax. LOVE the budding citrus trees there, tho!

  6. Great post! I've been experiencing some of that backsliding myself. And just when I wanted to become so new and improved! And so we quickly repent and try to move forward again. I guess no one ever said it would be easy, right? Best of luck in your March.

  7. Me too. I know we had almost the same focus this year and I too have forgotten to be more intentional. I loved how you have stopped berating yourself. That is so hard. So hard. You have motivated me to pick things up again and make my life what I want of it.

  8. you really inspire me, not sure if I've told you that before or not, but you do.

  9. I absolutely loved what you did for that young girl who hit your car. Makes me want to give YOU a hug!


  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.