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on being intentional… {+ a free printable}

2014 September 8

So, I’m still here! I am never quite sure if you miss me or not, since I know a lot of you follow many, many multiples of blogs across the interweb! As I said at the beginning of my last post, the past couple of weeks have been life changing – literally. I am exhausted, worn out and emotionally drained. So, I’m writing about it today and attempting to begin the fall season with a fresh perspective.

For the past few years the phrase “be intentional” has been floating around in my head. It sounds great and has come up in many conversations (mostly when I’m beating myself up for not being intentional!) I always talk about how great it would be to be intentional – to think about what is going on around me instead of always fighting fires or competing the most urgent task of the minute. But, in the end, it’s mostly talk – and I go back to my fires and my to do list, always feeling guilty when it isn’t finished… and forgetting to remember that it was me who added all of those “importantly urgent” (not really) and “must do, right away!” (nope…) things in the first place.

My brain doesn’t remember that I can’t finish all of those things and it forgets that they weren’t likely all that necessary in the first place. Because – when it’s an idea, it’s great and must be done – right? (Wrong!) Problem is, all of those urgent and so important things tend to drown out the really and actually important things going on around me. I’m just too busy to notice because those other things are quiet, they’re not calling for attention or asking for my time – at least not loud enough that I pay them much attention. I haven’t created space to have time to think about them.

It’s been really tough, now that both of my kids are in school – to actually face the space between drop-off and pick-up. It’s almost scary to me that I don’t have to fight any fires or constantly keep a little one busy and out of trouble/danger or the fridge! The busyness kept me going - now I have to think more about what I’m going to do with my day. Yes, of course there are appointments and to do lists, but I have more control over my time. I have to be intentional or I will just float through the next few years, look back and wonder where they have gone. Wonder why I didn’t do something useful with them. It’s forcing me to slow down.

The last four days especially have been super emotional. My purpose has changed and I don’t know what it is quite yet, so I feel a bit lost. I have things to do, but I feel there is a space now – a place that I need to sort out and fill up with “whatever it is” I am supposed to do with my life. I know my kids still need me in many ways – but with them both in school full-time, they are getting less dependant and I’m forced to sort it out. I’ve been home most of the last almost-7 years. And most of the almost-7 years I’ve fought with myself for “more time”. More space to create the never-ending ideas in my head, more space to spend doing the things I love to do. I’ve worked every evening for so long I almost don’t know what to do if I don’t have work after the kid’s bedtime. I have run out of energy – quite literally, and this past week my body decided it was time to stop. This post is not a big announcement, I just have a lingering cold – but I feel so tired… weary even, emotionally drained.

So… that is why I only blogged once last week. And, why I have decided to start talking about Being Intentional. I feel like I need a chart or a 10 step program or a clean house to begin. When I was younger I even got my family to wait for me Christmas morning while I showered and cleaned my room in anticipation of gifts that “might get lost in the mess” if I didn’t clean up. This time I’m going to ignore all of my organizational wants and start anyhow. I want to do realistic things with purpose. To finish each day happy with what I have done and not guilty that I didn’t finish my list. I want to take time to try to recognize what is really important – and choose to change course – cross things off my list that don’t matter and recognize that I will never be able to finish everything I dream up.

My husband graciously agreed to draw up part of the artwork for a “Be Intentional” printable, and I hope he doesn’t mind what I did with it! Since I’m putting a copy up on our fridge, I thought it would be fun to offer it to you all as a free printable – just in case you would like to print one out for yourself. I hope it inspires you. Click on the poster or this text to download the printable pdf – it has two pages in it, one with a white background and one as a chalkboard image, so you can choose which one you’d like.

Even as I write this I’m worried I will fail – which I’m sure I will – and multiple times at that! It’s even scarier knowing you are reading this. Not because I mind that you know, but because that is a lot of pressure! But, in the name of being realistic, that’s going to have to be ok. And thank you for reminding me to slow down whenever I sound like I’m letting it get out of hand again. I can take it, ready… set… GO!

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24 Responses leave one →
  1. lynne permalink
    September 8, 2014

    i think we are in a similar space… my youngest is not in school yet but this fall i really felt like i needed a re-start… like my kids were big enough that i could start fresh. i wanted big changes but due to some circumstances i’ve come to accept that instead i will continue on my current course, but with a different outlook. i am taking things bit by bit instead of OHMYGODIBITOFFMORETHANICANCHEWANDCANNEVERFINISH (did you get that?). haha. it coincided with me discovered The Minimalists (they have a blog)… i’m not here to preach minimalism because i know for myself i will never quite get there but they do have some lovely posts about letting go of the list and the freedom that comes with it. i’m still DOING things… but i’m enjoying the process more and my kids more and only doing bits at a time but it seems like more is getting done than it used to.

    anyway. sorry for the babble. i feel you, sister!

    • September 12, 2014

      Hooray, Lynne! It’s so nice to know I’m not alone. The Minimalists looks intriguing – thank you! I’m glad there is hope on the other side :)

  2. Sally permalink
    September 8, 2014

    Wow! This post is exactly what I have been wrestling with since school started. Seeing the day as a blank slate, without kid details and field trips, etc. throws me into so much anxiety. I want so much to Accomplish (with a capital A) rather than Be. So I’m trying to stop having expectations, which someone defined as “premeditated failure”. I’m trying to Be present and Intentional. It is definitely an uphill battle, but knowing there are others on the same path makes it a little bit easier. Thank you for the printout and for your honesty.

    • September 12, 2014

      Ah, yes – premeditated failure is a great way to describe it Sally! I am glad we can get through this together. Thank you.

  3. Judy permalink
    September 9, 2014

    Thanks from me too. Although I am long past kids in school, I have the same feeling to do so much and get very frustrated when I don’t get it done. Once again thank you.

    • September 12, 2014

      I’m glad it resonates with you Judy. So nice to know I’m not the only one! Thank you for taking the time to let me know. We’ll sort it out!

  4. Laura E. permalink
    September 9, 2014

    Beautiful post! And I think we can all relate in one way or another. I too try to accomplish way too much and feel like a failure at the end of the day when the things on my lists are not all crossed out! So after reading this, I’m still going to make my daily list but with only 2 or 3 things on it; I need to be realistic and stop frustrating myself so much. I just had a birthday and my mother was telling me she didn’t know when 38 years went by and how she wishes she slowed down a bit more to enjoy being a mother a bit more. That stuck with me and along with your post, it’s inspiring me to change the way I do things.
    Thank you!

    • September 12, 2014

      Thanks so much Laura. It is so nice to get reflections from someone that has already gone through the part of life we are traveling through. Helps to get us out of “our bubble” for a while so we can see things differently!

  5. Linda permalink
    September 9, 2014

    I always look forward to your posts, and I DO miss you when it’s been a few days since you’ve posted. You are smart and crafty and let’s not forget TALENTED!! Intentional or not intentional, you are terrific!

    Keep up the good work!!! 8-)

    xo Linda

    • September 12, 2014

      Wow Linda! I am so blessed to have your amazing comments. Thank you so much! :)

  6. Janette permalink
    September 9, 2014

    First of all, you are AMAZING!! (Let’s just establish that as a fact.) Second of all, I totally understand (as much as one can without having kids). I’ve purposely scaled back my schedule this fall in order to have more time to spend doing the things I really WANT to do, instead of all the things I feel I SHOULD do. It’s hard, but it’s a goal worth working towards, even if we fail along the way. You’re awesome!! :)

    • September 12, 2014

      Thanks Janette (You too!!!!) The scaling back is a good idea. It really helps to take care of yourself – and I think it helps you to be able to actually accomplish more for other people in the long run. Of course that is logical and in my brain and it’s hard to put into practice… of course, but I think it’ll sort itself out!

  7. Mirjam permalink
    September 9, 2014

    I think a lot of us do recognise your story. I also have a (continuously changing) large to-do list which I never can finish. Altough I do miss you when you’re not blogging, I hope you don’t feel the pressure to do so if you don’t feel like it. Just take your time to figure things out. And remember: you’re doing great! ;)

    • September 12, 2014

      Thank you so much Mirjam. I am so grateful to be on the receiving end of your amazing comments! Busy is good sometimes, if you’re careful! It’s part of being creative I think :)

  8. Jody permalink
    September 9, 2014

    The time during the day is now your new reality. Remember what it was like when you were a brand new mom. Everything changes, everything settles into place eventually. I suggest reading this blog again in 6 months to see how your reality has evolved.

    • September 12, 2014

      So true Jody! Thank you for the reminder. I have set a reminder for 6 months from now. It will be fun to do a reflective post on how it is going/changed!

  9. September 9, 2014

    Gee, Sherri, you are so right. It’s so easy to consume hours on the internet, or creating a make, just to one-up the beautiful objects we see… we need to define what success means and stick to it.

    • September 12, 2014

      Very good idea Lisa. I think there is so much out there to see we get incomplete/misinterpreted ideas of what we should be doing to be successful. Maybe we need to define what success is in the eyes of the people closest to us instead. :)

  10. September 10, 2014

    Such a timely post. I know I could be more intentional with my time and energy. I like this quote:

    It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.

    J. K. Rowling

    • September 12, 2014

      Dorienne, I’m so glad you shared the quote. I am going to have to print it out and put it up as well. Such a great thought. Thank you!

  11. Ann ( no e ) permalink
    September 10, 2014

    Sherri, give yourself over to the tears ;) Make a cuppa, sit on the patio and take a very deep breath. Savor the days of little ones cuddling before the afternoon nap, first attempt at baking cookies with a two year old, marvel at the beautiful girls that are growing before your eyes. They need to fly and they need you there to catch them when the flight gets tricky.
    Take each day as it comes. Big breath, drop off then decide on one habit for the day. A walk, time with hubby, make a part of the evening meal? Add to the list slowly. I am sixty and still trying to pare down the weekly ‘To Do’ list. I will never create a ‘Double Wedding Ring ‘ kingsize quilt. I don’t like applique, love patchwork, sewing twirly dresses for our granddaughters, love holiday baking, snowy afternoons in front of the fire with a good book, Skyping with our far away families . . .
    Give yourself some time to adjust to your new reality ;)

    • September 12, 2014

      Thank you Ann. Wow – thank you for taking the time to comment! Thank you for reminding me that tears are good. I will take time to sit. I so appreciate your comment, and I am fortunate to have your advice.

  12. Colleen permalink
    September 11, 2014

    Hi Sherri,
    I’ve read through all the previous comments and it’s all good advice. As women, our roles as professionals/mothers/wives/daughters, whatever, are always evolving. It’s the bane and the boon of our existence ! I think with every major milestone we have to change gears, recalculate and redefine. We still have many of the same roles, the emphasis is just rebalanced. With what you have written you are on the right track and figuring out your way. Good on you for writing about it and sharing with the rest of us. Please don’t be hard on yourself.

    • September 12, 2014

      Good reminder Colleen, you are right, I may have accidentally given myself the more difficult task of keeping up with my “be intentional” theme! I will remember what you have said and do my best to remember that “failing” is still moving forward. Thank you!

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