PS THERE IS NO SMALL THING TODAY. YOU CAN USE TODAY TO CATCH UP ON ANY ANY SMALL THING YOU'VE MISSED THIS MONTH...AND GET THE POINTS FOR IT!
I've never made any secret about my apparent lack of focus. The effortless way I get distracted. I make it look so easy, but it's actually taken a lifetime of dedication to leave so many projects unfinished, so many ideas half-baked. My family has adjusted well to my condition, as illustrated by this little story:
My son and I were in a hurry to get out of Target on one of our school supply junkets. He pulled me by the hand past the kitchen utensils, and as he did, he made an observation and issued a command all in one sentence:
"Wow, that cheese looks fake keep walking."
Man, I didn't even have a chance to glance around for the fake-looking cheese he was talking about! It was disappointing because I really wanted to see fake cheese in that moment. But no! He yanked me along toward the check-out line without a shred of sympathy, because he knew I'd get distracted and forget why I was in a hurry.
Perhaps you, like me, suffer from this malady. But I take comfort in reminding myself that Laura Ingalls never would have made it in this multi-tasking, dizzying world either. So much is thrown at us every day: images, news stories, fashion do's and don'ts, children's activities, work, cell phones....is it any wonder that we are victimized by all the distractions? Yea, even abused by them?
I truly believe that deep down, I am a uni-tasker, stuck in a multi-tasking world. I function so much better when I can focus on one thing at a time...but really, when does THAT happen? There's always so much going on around me, I often feel I am caught in a swirling vortex of diversions.
Today's Small Thing is to eliminate some distractions. Don't worry, I'm not talking about doing it ALL DAY, although it would be an interesting experiment. Turn off FOX News coverage of everything that's wrong in the world. Skip having the TV as "background noise" for half an hour. Mute the radio. OK, you can mute my playlist, too, if you must. Take the ipod out of your ears and turn your cell phone to "silent." Stop surfing the net.
You see, even though we might not function well with all the distractions going on, we've become addicted to them. We're used to not being in control of what bombards us, and we're operating at half-effectiveness because we're thinking of (and doing) too many things at once.
Make a point of focusing on one task (or person) at a time. You might even try setting a timer to help a child wait a few minutes for a cup of juice while you finish a job. Or, let the job wait while you focus on the child's needs.
Instead of hopping from one thing to another, try and savor the process of working steadily at something. Just for a little while.
POINTS: 40 Focusing is a skill that we can get better at if we practice! I'm going to turn off the kitchen TV while I do dishes today, and I will try and savor the work that comes with the blessing of being a mom.
What will you focus on today? How will you eliminate some distractions?
"Do we really live like this??"
Just in case you haven't noticed, there is a big difference in the way men and women give compliments. Especially if the compliment is to a man.
Case in point:
Me, giving a compliment to our son on his haircut:
My husband, chiming in with his version of a compliment:
Nearly every mid-sized town in America now has a Walmart. In my city, there is a Walmart every 10 miles! It is the ubiquitous symbol of a nation on a budget.
I've been in all the Walmarts near my home, and though they might look a little different from each other on the outside, the inside layout is almost identical.
Last week, I found myself shopping at a Walmart I'd never been in before, and per my usual custom, I made a beeline for the restroom as soon as I entered the store. I turned into the restroom vestibule, then took a right into the Women's Room.
Suddenly I thought, "WHY IS THERE A MAN URINATING IN THE WOMEN'S ROOM? WHY IS THERE A URINAL IN HERE? HEY WAIT A MINUTE....."
The man at the urinal looked over his shoulder at me with a horrified expression, and I looked back at him with a horrified expression, mumbled something that sounded like a squawk, and turned and fled. I ran to the REAL Women's Room and stayed in there for about 10 minutes, hoping to give the poor man a chance to zip up his dignity and leave the area.
Well, THAT was certainly an unexpected incident! I guess when you do something a thousand times the same way, you naturally assume that the 1001st time will be exactly the same as the previous times. Talk about a surprise!
But my unexpected trip to the Men's Room had an unexpected side effect.
Lately, I've found myself with a heightened sense of awareness in general as a result. I've been paying attention to details and looking for the "unexpected" in my everyday life! Maybe I realized, in that moment of horror, that even "bad" surprises are nothing to be afraid of. They can break you out of your rut and into something kinda cool! Unexpected twists make life interesting.
Today's Small Thing is to do something unexpected! Do something that will catch your family off-guard, or will surprise a friend. Find something that you've done a million times and find a way to do it differently!
I'll give you all weekend to come up with something unexpected...but don't overthink it! Just DO it!
POINTS: 50 for doing something out-of-the-ordinary, good-crazy, silly-fun, or just plain-old SURPRISING!
Link up for coffee in the next post!
This week, I'm going to start at the END of the list of Coffee participants and work my way backward. I did not get beyond the first 15 last week, and I feel awfully bad about that. I'M SO SORRY!!
It's been a full week of the usual and not-so-usual stuff. Right now, I'm working on a project for a local newscaster: coming up with a way to mount a printed mural in a way that will make it look like a piece of art and not a giant poster.
My ideas so far:
This will give me food for thought over the weekend. I will work on coming up with an UNEXPECTED twist!! Woo!
I hope you'll link up for "coffee" today! By simply entering your name and blog URL into the form below, you'll be inviting us over to your blog to visit! Then try and get around to visit as many blogs as you can! If you are not a blogger, you can participate in the comments! We've gotten to know several Company Girls, like Lydia Cate and Christin, who have jumped in that way. Have a great weekend everyone!
PS Say a prayer for Sweetie, who we have missed lately! She's having severe eye problems and had their trucks broken into...lots of reasons to stop over and say "hi, we're thinking of you!"
Now that school is underway, I find myself running around in circles trying to stay on top of everything. It's tough on moms like me to remember it all and make sure all the permission slips are signed, lunches made, clothes washed, homework supervised, and boo-boos kissed. If history tells me anything, something is sure to fall through the cracks.
When life gets busy, that's when I reach for my Home Sanctuary "Save the Day" activity. Let me explain: the more hectic things are, the less likely you are to cover all the bases. Small children don't get regular nap times, the house gets messy, food is eaten on the run.....well, you know the story.
So when I can't do everything the way it should be done, I just try to do one thing right.
I ask myself: what does my family need most right now?
The answer will always fall into one of Sanctuary's three categories.
Peace. Order. Beauty.
OK, sometimes my family needs all three simultaneously, but since I'm just one person with limited energy, I focus on one of them. And it's amazing what focused attention can do.
It can change everything.
You might find yourself in the middle of a toddler's melt down, while dinner is burning and the laundry is everywhere. Make a choice in the midst of the chaos to focus.
Would putting dinner off by 15 more minutes harm anything if you could sit and read a story to Junior? Maybe it's an "I-need-my-Mommy" meltdown. (peace)
Or is little Junior starving and really needing to eat NOW? (order).
Can you chuck all the laundry into a basket until tomorrow so you can relax while you eat? (order and beauty)
Today's Small Thing is to ask yourself: what ONE THING (peace, order, beauty) can I do for my family today that will do the most good? It doesn't have to be complicated. Sometimes just getting down on eye-level and connecting with your loved one (providing peace) is all it takes to make the chaos seem....less awful. More joyful. More sanctuary-like.
Oh, I'm diggin' THAT.
POINTS: 40 for saving the day in one small way...you choose how!
Here's a great post on finding the beauty you already have around you.
And how about a little bit of history on how I discovered Sanctuary?
When my youngest child started school, I thought I would finally have the time to get organized. I'd have whole days to work on my photo albums, balance the checkbook, deep clean the closets and categorize all the stuff in the garage.
Unfortunately, that was right about the time that my man's job went bye-bye and we started scrambling to make ends meet. I printed up business cards and started painting anything that didn't move. I got a lucky break and got to do a Parade Home, and then things really got rolling. Suddenly, I was a working mom and I was (am) still struggling with getting organized.
Now, don't get me wrong, having a business like mine is really a dream come true. Getting to do something creative every day AND get paid for it is pretty sweet. But going up and down ladders, hauling bins of paint, setting up, breaking down, making samples and sketches at night and worrying about project schedules....all while trying to do the best job I could as a mom and a wife? Phew! Let's just say I'm tired a lot.
But what I've discovered is pockets.
Little pockets of time, here and there.
See, I rarely get big chunks of time to "get organized." But Pockets of Time, say 5, 10 or 15 minute pockets, can pop up at unexpected moments. Like when you're waiting for the highlights to activate on your Frost N Glo kit. Or waiting for someone to finish brushing their teeth so you can tuck them in. Or in between Good Morning America and Regis & Kelly. Or while talking on the phone.
Once, I made a list of all the things I could think of that could be done in 15 minutes or less. Many of the tasks were things that I never believed could fit into a pocket, so I timed myself so I wouldn't have to add them to my list. They fit. Here are some of the things in my pockets:
Today's Small Thing is to see what you can fit into a pocket. When you start to see all those giant, looming jobs for what they really are, they don't seem so bad. See? They can't be TOO big if they fit into a pocket!
All you have to do is fill two small pockets today...with any tasks of your choosing! Use any of the ones I've listed, or create your own list! I kept my list handy because I have a tendency to forget easily.
POINTS: 50 for filling two small pockets of time...they can be back-to-back little tasks, or you can do them whenever a pocket shows up!
BONUS POINTS: 30 Make your own list of things that can fit in your pockets!
That's a pocketful of points for something so easy!
"Wow!" my son stood in the kitchen and nodded appreciatively. He'd just gotten back from three weeks in Minnesota and was looking around the room.
"You really went all out while we were gone! Painting the kitchen cabinets? I'm impressed."
I had to laugh. "No, I didn't repaint them. See? The old paint is still chipping off."
"But they look so...new!" He was puzzled.
Well, I DID repaint the back splash, and maybe that helped the situation in there. But the truth was, the newly painted back splash had made my cabinets look really dingy. There was grime everywhere! So I took a floor swiffer and used it to clean the doors and drawers.
"Seriously, all I did was wipe them all down. Gave them a spit shine before you got home."
He gave me a raised eyebrow, grabbed a handful of cookies and left me to admire my "new" cabinets. Golly! They DID look good!
Today's Small Thing is to do a quick "spit shine" in the kitchen. "Spit shine" is an old military term, used to refer to using spit to shine up boots or rifles, but please don't think I want you to spit on your cabinet doors today! Simply take a damp cloth and wipe down the worst offenders: doors and drawers, maybe the front of the dishwasher, that look a bit grimy. (A damp swiffer works wonders.)
Maybe YOUR family will think you repainted the kitchen cabinets! I was surprised at how quickly the task went, even with 22 doors in my tiny kitchen...it went fast. Depending on how much time you have today, if you'll do at least 5 doors or drawers, you can earn today's points.
POINTS: 40 for spit shining some cabinets
Did you see the post about September's prizes? I posted it over the weekend. Check it out!