Monday, October 8, 2012

31: Skipping Class Part 2

Now you know...I've skipped a class or two in my day.  Life has a sneaky way of derailing you (and me) when we least expect it if we don't have margins.

My girl needed a skip day a couple of weeks ago.  Life had simply overwhelmed her and she needed a break.  She's only 9 and yet...she needs margins, too.

That got me thinking about the common, and essential, elements to a day devoted to margin.  A day when we need to carve out some space so we can breathe, think, live.

Here are the key pieces should you find you need your own day of margin:
  • rest - sleeping in and naps
  • food - your favorite comfort foods
  • fresh air - it's amazing to me what a little natural vitamin D and deep inhalations of oxygen will do for your soul
  • clothing - only the comfiest, snuggliest will do
  • meditation - take some time to think, read, pray, listen to music
  • hot bath - turns out there's some truth to "Calgon take me away!"
What are your key pieces to a day of margin?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Welcome

Welcome.  The timer is ticking and my mind is racing.  Racing for something to write. 

Ah.  Here we go.  Welcome mats.  I know, random, right? 

I'm a home stager.  A "welcome" mat is one small element that helps prospective home buyers feel, well, welcome.  It doesn't have to say "welcome".  In fact, I personally and professionally prefer them to not say anything.  Subtlety is best.

Just like a mat a the front door welcomes visitors to come in and stay awhile, your smile is your own personal welcome mat.  A smile invites strangers, friends, even enemies.  A smile welcomes.

Are you wearing your welcome mat today?

Company Girl Coffee: Coffee, Tea and Me

It's been a few months since I've been at a CG Coffee.  I've missed them.  Thanks for keeping the door open, the chair available, the coffee hot.

Coffee.  Hmmm...I grew up with parents that drank coffee every day.  I loved the smell of it brewing, couldn't stand the taste of it.  My first husband was a coffee drinker.  I made it for him every morning.  Didn't drink a drop of it.  I tried it plenty of times, I simply didn't like it.  I've even tried making it for my Bible study group on Tuesday mornings.  They say it's pretty good. 

Chocolate.  Now there's something I'll eat without any provocation.  Growing up I was not particular as to what kind of chocolate; beggars can't be choosers.  Although milk chocolate was my go-to choice to satisfy the craving, somewhere along the way I was introduced to dark chocolate.  Oh my.  Where have you been all my life?  Next came dark chocolate covered coffee beans.

Why didn't someone tell me how great coffee tasted? 

This put my feet firmly on the slippery slope.  Suddenly I saw coffee shops everywhere, the same way you miraculously discover that there are thousands of cars just like the one you just purchased, although the day before you would have sworn on your grandmother's grave that you rarely saw any other cars the very same make, model and color as yours.

Cue seasonal coffee.

I'm a goner.  Peppermint Mochas, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Coconut Mocha Frappuccinos.  Good gracious.  Put an extra shot in there and I'm a woman on a mission.

Turns out, I'm a coffee drinker after all.  Or as my new husband (just celebrated one year!), I'm a high-maintenance coffee drinker.  A coffee snob. No worries, I'm a tea snob, too.  I've even been known to bring my own Irish Breakfast tea bags with me just in case all the restaurant has is Lipton.

Life is too short to spend it drinking bad tea or coffee.  Live abundantly.  Live fully.  And feel free to bring me a pumpkin spice latte.

*For the record, should you ever be in my neck of the woods and want to pop in with a seasonal coffee, I take it with whole milk, whipped cream, the works.  An extra shot wouldn't hurt either.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Are you a fraidy cat?

Carol Anne continues to peer into the deep recesses of her heart and write what she sees.  Thing is, it's my heart, too.  Heartaches and disappointments have a way of punching our card for membership into clubs we all would rather not join.

I've touched on this before, but CA goes even deeper.  I am grateful for her friendship.  (Yep, we're friends IRL; as in meet-for-coffee-and-hash-it-all-out-friends.)

She claims she's a fraidy cat, but she has more courage than I ever did when it comes to her willingness to get the the very essence of her struggles, my struggles.  She inspires me to be a better writer, to step out and do whatever it takes, to seek with all my heart the life God created for me, the authentic life.

She probably has no idea she ministers to me in such a way, especially in the midst of her deepest hurt. She's probably reading this and crying, hopefully even laughing a bit.

The questions she asked today deeply resonated with me.  I think these are questions we all have, but rarely take the time to root out the answers.  Life has a way of getting in the way of the life to which God created us and calls us.  We all make poor choices, rarely knowing the lasting effects those decisions have in our lives and the lives of others.  Somewhere in the mix, those seemingly small decisions/mistakes/choices end up slowly pulling us away from the path on which God originally put our feet.

7 Things I Miss About Me

Are you willing to not only ask, but to seek out the answers to, the deepest questions?  Are you willing to live the authentic life God has created for you?


11 - early morning mist on a neighborhood lake
12 - warm, squeezy hug from my first-born
13 - sweet smile from my girl
14 - cool mornings
15 - pumpkin spice lattes

31: Skipping Class

I'm a few days behind the ball, but given the recent events of this week, I'm pushing forward with the words and deeds God has laid on my heart.

The Nester is hosting a "31 days" blog-something.  I'm still relatively new to blogging, so I'm sure there is a technical term for whatever it is.  I just don't know it.

My 31 days are 31 days of Margin.  I think I may have made a cute button for the sidebar (one that I copied from Nester).  I'm having technical difficulties getting it to load, though.

Regardless, Nester challenged us to do something and blog about it for 31 days straight.  Given my start to October, the revelation I had yesterday from Rachel Anne, and God continuing to nudge me gently to listen to His plan for my life, I chose 31 days of margin.

I'm totally counting yesterday's post as Day 1.  Today is Day 2.  So far, so good.  I may actually have the hang of this thing.

For the past couple of weeks when I take my children to church on Wednesday nights, I have opted to not attend a class.  I sit in my car and relax, breathe deeply, meditate, listen to music, catch up on Instagram/Twitter/facebook, read, pray.

I've gone to classes in the past.  I've greatly benefited from them.  This time around what I realized I needed was time to be alone with God, time to be alone with my thoughts, time for margin.  I went to a class the first week.  I felt so completely overwhelmed getting everyone to their classes on time, and still have the presence of mind to not be a total zombie in my own class.

Mind you, the first week I did it, my motivation was not very pure.  It was self-preservation.  It was pride.  I had stopped to ask a friend about the health of another friend and that conversation went a little longer than anticipated.  By the time we finished, my class was already under way, by at least 15 minutes.  There was no way I was going to walk in late.  No thanks.  Not my style at all.

I headed to my car to wait it out.  I had a book, so I read.  My entire disposition changed during the next 60 minutes.  My heart rate slowed, my brain slowed.  I could breathe.  I could think.  I could hear God.

I'll skip class any day if it means I get to hear God's voice over me.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

31: Creating Margin

I clicked on Home Sanctuary this morning to find this very appropriate post from Rachel Anne. 

I love margins, in my writing, in my house, in my life.  When those margins get squeezed out, I get squeezed out.  It's not pretty.  Ask my husband, my kids, my friends, my family.

I NEED margins.  Without the; my thoughts, my words, my actions tumble all over the place, with no concern for where they land or who they hurt. 

Margins help us to see clearly, breathe deeply, live fully, focus completely.

This morning I didn't have my much-needed margin before the rest of the house was up and about.  My family felt the aftershocks.  It's wasn't pretty.  In fact, it was downright ugly.  I was the cartoonish cranky mom, complete with disheveled hair and mismatched pj's.  I needed caffeine.  I needed some time to wake up, already.  I needed my margin.

The really sad part in all this is that it was my own doing.  I didn't set my alarm last night (still have no clue why).  So, when my husband popped out of bed and told me the time (about an hour past my usual time), it set my brain spiraling.  I was immediately consumed with getting up and getting the children out the door on time, hopefully with something resembling breakfast before they left.  The never-ending to-do list flooded my mind and began to torment me with thoughts of failure, irresponsibility.  Good times.

This is the third day since Monday that my day has not gone according to plan.  God is trying to tell me something and I'm clearly not listening, not understanding.  For the sake of my family and my own sanity, I need to understand this.

Open my ears, Lord.  Help me hear and understand Your voice.  My life is nothing more than a cranky, ugly mess without You. I want the life You have for me, a life with margin and focus and beauty.  A life that glorifies You.  A life that follows Your plan for me.  Show me that plan and give me the courage to follow You.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Within the next few weeks, I will be slowing moving my blog over to wordpress.  My company blog is over there, as well as a real estate blog that I contribute to as needed.  I'm hopeful it will be easier on my brain to have them all in one spot. 

I'll keep you posted on when the move is complete.  Until then, keep stopping by here.  And leave me a comment.  I'd love to hear from you!

:) Aimee


6 - Bible Study
7 - a doggie who is well
8 - a sweet smile from my girl
9 - kindness and gentleness
10 - encouraging words from the pen of a friend

Confessions of a Fraidy Cat: Living in Limbo Ain't No Dance Party (Pt. 2)

If you haven't clicked over to Carol Anne's blog yet, what are ya waiting on?? 

Confessions of a Fraidy Cat: Living in Limbo Ain't No Dance Party (Pt. 2): From the outside looking in, they were the epitome of perfection. I suspect it takes exhausting effort to craft blemish-free masks. They...

Monday, October 1, 2012

One Thousand Gifts

1 - hot tea on a cold and drizzly morning
2 - doggie companions
3 - a night with no activities at home with just my husband (bliss)
4 - counting down to an important day
5 - remembering that God's plan is bigger and better than mine

Living the Life I Didn't Plan

Life has a way of not following my plan.  I make well-thought-out plans (most of the time).  My ideas are fun, grand, and usually have a way of coming unraveled just when things are beginning to click along.

Today the dog has vomited six nine ten times.  Today the rain hampers the ability of the paint to dry quickly or well on the rockers I am refinishing. Today my husband took microwavable soup for lunch while I was planning to surprise him with a lovely homemade chicken soup for supper.

So, I sigh, grumble, whine, complain, curse the dog (and the spider we think bit her).  Hopefully somewhere along the way I remember to be thankful.  Thankful for what has gone according to my plan, and thankful for what hasn't.  Thankful that God is good and kind and loves me in spite of the grand plans I make.  Thankful that He has even grander plans for me.

This weekend a dear, dear friend and mentor took a huge leap of faith and courage.  It is a path I have walked, although not nearly as well or as with much grace as she has.  I'm hopeful that my experiences somehow encouraged her and strengthened her.  It is a path no one plans; a path no one chooses without much prayer, deliberation and struggle; a path God already knew we would traverse. 

The beauty of life not according to our plans is that it forces us to look at the life God has planned for us.  A life beyond our wildest imaginations; beyond our grandest plans; beyond our deepest dreams. 

At the end of the day, that is the life we all crave.  Real life.  Connected-to-our-Creator life. Authentic life.  Messy life.

That kind of  life requires ridiculous faith, insurmountable courage, unbelievable trust.  All impossible tasks unless there is someone or something worth that much faith, courage, trust. 

The Gospel, The Good News is...there is.  God loves you.  God loves me.  God created us so that He could show us His love.  He sent Jesus to prove His love.  "Jesus is too sweet to not trust."

So, even when nothing in your day, your week, your month, or even your year seems to be going according to plan, give your plan to God and let Him show you His perfect plan for you and your life. 

It will be beyond your wildest imagination; beyond your grandest plan; beyond your deepest dream.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11