Friday, August 30, 2013

No Foto Friday--Finding a Little TrACTion

Where did August go, and how did summer disappear with it?

Since it is the end of the month already, I need to recap my yearlong journey to ACT--a year of intentional action, a year of controlling my reactions, a year of prayerfully finding 365 ways to serve others.

July brought a new approach to my goals.  Changing my perspective from "Perfection is the only option," to "This is a weakness that I'm working to improve," made all of my missed attempts in August okay in my mind.  I had a few setbacks, to be sure, mostly because this past month was so full of busy and crazy and good and new and challenging things.

A few things I this month that fell inside the parameters of my yearly goal:

  • I hosted a moms' back-to-school celebration.  I kinda wanted to do it and I kinda didn't want to do it, but once moms and their preschool kids began arriving--bringing food, noise and friendship into my home--I was glad I had stepped outside my inwardly focused life to reach out to others.  It was a good thing.
  • I set a goal when summer started that I would help Micah focus on his piano--help him realize how important it is to count, to finger, and especially to slow down and learn the piece completely before speeding it up.  This would be a trial of my patience for sure, and a surefire way to test my resolve to control my reactions.  Now that three months have passed with me consistently helping him at the piano, I can hear marked difference in his musicianship and his approach to his music.  I know that he has the ability to be a great pianist one day, but it's my job to teach him that the work behind the performance is more important than the performance itself.  This was really gratifying to see such progress over such a relatively short period of time.  He changed and I changed, and that was more than I had hoped for at summer's start.
  • Usually when school starts, I am the mom skipping through the quiet house, ready to return to the routine school brings, but when school started on August 7th this year, I wasn't ready.  At all.  But it started nonetheless, and I applied my intentional action to homework time after school.  Hyrum, a brand new first grader, has a little more homework this year, and although he is familiar with our routine after school, he has been balking at completing his work when he first walks in the door in the afternoon.  I remember one specific afternoon when I made a healthy snack and prepared the homework area before the boys got home, hoping that this preparation would make the afternoon go more smoothly.  It didn't, unfortunately, but what that preparation had done was get me in the right frame of mind to be completely present with my boys as they were sitting with their math problems, and it made me more patient when Hyrum's frustration rose to the surface.  Gold star to me that day.  (That gold star may have gotten a little bent and tarnished other days this month, but at least I can look back on one day and know that it was possible. Just that once.)
  • Preparing for my half marathon and then starting grad school have both required a lot of intentional action--training when I really didn't want to, running when it was hot or early or late, buying books and figuring out foreign computer terms and apps, launching headlong back into academia with two papers and a quiz and a project all due within the first week.  I'm realizing that school will be harder and more time consuming than I originally planned, but I know that as long as I keep school in its proper place--behind faith and family--then it will all work out.
  • And with Tucker's wedding only 21 days from today (Yes, that is right.  No, I'm going nuts.), I have spent many hours helping with wedding plans and addressing announcements and buying wedding party clothes and attending showers and preparing the kids to move to Provo this weekend.  As time consuming as all that stuff has been, when I remind myself to put the stress in the perspective that I am serving two people that I love, it is all worth it.  And in 21 days, I will have a new beautiful daughter.  That's way shorter than pregnancy, right?

September will unavoidably bring slightly cooler temperatures, leaves changing everywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere, and more schoolwork for me and for the kids, but I also hope it will bring with it a little greater resolve to keep my resolution to ACT more in the forefront my mind.

Have a fantastic Labor Day weekend.  Football season opens tonight.



  1. Ok- you are amazing! I'm tired just from reading all you have going on in your world right now. Such a great word-'re a great example of being intentional. I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't exercised since vacation...and I feel so lousy. I think I'm going to put that insanity video in this morning and get back on track...I'm going to act.
    Have a great holiday weekend!

  2. i saw the leaves changing on the mountain last night for the first time here! so exciting:)

  3. Whew! Did I read that right?.....grad school? You are amazing.

  4. Changing my perspective from "Perfection is the only option," to "This is a weakness that I'm working to improve..."

    This is a great way to go.