When You Don’t Know What to Do

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On Saturday night I went to bed at a decent time, with plans to get up on time the next morning. That might sound like common sense, but it’s not always – or even often – what I do. Most Sunday mornings start off late and get more stressful every minute between rolling out of bed and stumbling into church.

But this week I was determined to be different.

And it was – but not in the way I expected. Despite going to bed a little early, I lay in bed for hours, WIDE AWAKE. This is not normal for me at all. I have family and friends who fight insomnia on a regular basis, but if I’m good at one thing, it’s sleeping. Just not Saturday night.

In hindsight I think the large quantities of tea and a before-bed Diet Dr. Pepper are mostly to blame. But the myriad thoughts and questions swirling in my mind didn’t help. More than other recent seasons, this back-to-school time has brought with it an overwhelming number of decisions to make.

Do we lead a small group this session?
Do we make Annalyn continue piano lessons?
Is it time to start potty training?
What should my next book be about?

These are big questions, you guys – and not issues that can be figured out overnight. Which is probably why, as I tried so hard to go to sleep (as if THAT ever works!) the other night, I focused instead on what my girls should be for Halloween and the possibility of throwing a Back to the Future party. Important things, you know?

No, not at all, but much easier and more fun to think about when I feel like I’m drowning in questions!

On top of those questions, I’m also in the process of working with a designer to refresh the look of this site – which brings with it lots of questions only I can answer.

[Side note: Speaking of my blog redesign, this site will be dark from August 31 to September 10. No new posts, no looking up old ones. And my plan is to reveal the new site on September 11. I’ll miss you while I’m gone, but we’ll have lots to discuss when I return!]

What do you do when you have a big or difficult decision to make?

When You Don't Know What to Do

My nature is to research, so I look up all the information I can find about the topic at hand. Sometimes that means crowd sourcing, like I did last week when I asked my Facebook friends for advice about getting my daughter to practice piano without yelling. Sometimes it means Pinterest surfing, like when I fell down the rabbit hole of Halloween costume ideas late Saturday night. Other times I will ask just a few trusted friends for their opinions, like when I wasn’t sure how to treat the stinking lice that showed up on my baby girl this summer.

From there I usually make a pros and cons chart, either mentally or literally. Some decisions feel so overwhelming and complicated that only the physical act of writing down the angles and considerations can help me sort things out.

But I know the best thing I can do is pray about it.

This month isn’t the first time it’s happened, so I shouldn’t be surprised that the lessons we’re teaching in Kids City at church are exactly what I need to hear. This month’s theme? WISDOM. Of course.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.
(James 1:5)

Just ask. I know that. I know that later in the book of James, it says “you do not have because you do not ask.” If I need wisdom, guidance, ANSWERS, then I simply need to ask for it.

So I am. I’m still researching (go ahead, ask me how many articles I’ve read about potty training readiness!) and seeking the counsel of a few friends, but I’m praying that God will guide my decisions and make my paths straight.

Annnnnd, I’m going to take a poll. Because I’ve got one more decision to make, on top of all those others. And for this one, I want YOUR opinion!

Can you help me decide: What should I write about for my 31 Days series in October?

If you don’t know about 31 Days, it’s a challenge that a lot of bloggers take in October to write about one topic for each day of the month. In 2012 I wrote about giving up on perfect, in 2013 I wrote about giving up on fairy tales, and last year I wrote about turning lemons into lemonade. But this year, well, I’m not sure which topic to choose. I’d love to hear what you think!

Which of these topics sound most interesting to you?

a. The intersection of pop culture and faith
b. #sorrynotsorry – Why I’m done apologizing (for some things)
c. Another series about life’s fairy tales
d. Something else entirely!

Please, tell us in the comments what sounds most interesting to you! (And if you’re doing a 31 Days series on your own blog, I’d love to hear what you’ll be writing about, too!)

Leaf photo source

WFMW: Taking a Technology Timeout

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I don’t have an office. Or even a desk. I work at my laptop, on a TV tray, while curled up on the left side of my couch. It’s not ideal.

Also not ideal? The left side of my couch kind of sags. Because I sit there too often.

So for the last several months I’ve been trying to take more breaks, to leave the computer turned off more often. I realized a while back that, because I work from home and because I work in the never-takes-a-break world of social media, it’s not uncommon for me to spend hours on the couch, staring at one screen or another.

And that’s not good.

So I tell myself to better manage my time. I make schedules. I make promises. But it’s hard. It’s hard to unplug, to resist the siren call of the screen.

Lucky for me, my laptop is on its last legs!

No, really – this is partly good news! Because when my computer refuses to work – and it does. It just REFUSES to do its ONE JOB. – I have no other choice but to turn it off and walk away. Today was one of those days. And after fighting to get an internet connection for several days in a row, I’d had enough. I unplugged for most of the day.

And when I sat down to write this week’s Works for Me Wednesday post this evening? The one I’d planned about making stuffed peppers and eating fewer carbs? The one that basically REQUIRES me to lean on Pinterest? Heavily? Well, Pinterest decided that even if my laptop was clocked in, it was not on board. Won’t open. Not in Firefox; not in Chrome.

Pinterest has left the building…so to speak.

Edited to add: As soon as I hit publish, I tried Pinterest ONE MORE TIME – and wouldn’t you know? It works now. What?! Oh well. We’ll talk stuffed peppers next week, right?

I’ve read lots of articles about taking a technology break, from wise women who take the time to re-order their priorities and peel themselves away from the online world to spend more time in their real worlds. Those ladies are SMART. And I try to do that. I’m getting better, a little better.

But this time? This time, I believe technology is taking a break from ME! Maybe my laptop and Pinterest and my internet service and my phone (have I mentioned that it doesn’t work that well either? Because it does NOT.) are in on this together, going on strike to force me to take a break.

So, I’m signing off for today (and maybe even tomorrow!). Consider me in timeout. Even when it’s not my choice, taking a technology break works for me.

Have you ever taken a technology timeout?

 
Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

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Weekend Links, 6.20.15

Weekend Links at Giving Up on Perfect

It’s been a long time since I shared my favorite posts of the week here. I’ve tried to share on Facebook when I remember, but thanks to tricky algorithms and the mystery that is social media, many of you don’t get to see those posts. Since I personally value weekly roundups like this myself (because really, ain’t nobody got TIME to read ALL THE THINGS on the internet, and sometimes I just want someone to tell me what to read), I thought I’d get back to it here on my own blog.

Annalyn is currently lounging in our $17 baby pool in the front yard, yelling every 90 seconds or so, “Mommy! Mom! MOM! Are you almost done? When are you coming out here? Moooooom!” So I’m going to keep this short and sweet and get straight to the links. Ready?

Lastly, my friend Kayse Pratt is starting an online devotional/book club/Bible study sort of thing next week on the 24th. If I know Kayse, it will be no pressure and super encouraging. After all, she said in her post about this project: “From blog posts to books, I’m just weary of all the things everyone is telling me I “should” be doing to be a better wife or mom or me, for goodness sake.” You and me both, friend. Details here.

Happy weekend, friends! May your days include cool drinks and loud laughter and absolutely no mosquitoes.

 

It’s a Blog Birthday – and a Big Giveaway!

Blog Birthday Giveaway

On second thought maybe it wasn’t a great idea to search for birthday cake photos on Day 5 of my return to Weight Watchers…

ANYWAY.

A little over seven years ago I decided to start a blog. And after choosing to follow Jesus and agreeing to marry my husband, it is the decision that has made the largest impact on my life. I had no idea what I was doing back then, no idea the difference that one little choice would make! {Special thanks to Chelley for inspiring me with her blog and being the reason I thought about starting mine in the first place!}

But I don’t want to talk about me, me, me today. I’m a blogger because of YOU. I’ve heard some people say that they love to write so much they’d write even if nobody read it. That’s not me. I am here because you are here. I write because you read and because you respond. Our community is what keeps me going.

So thank you. THANK YOU. Thank you for visiting or subscribing, for giving me permission to share my deepest desires and fears, my biggest and highest dreams, and my shallowest thoughts and tendencies with you. Thank you for commenting and liking and retweeting and sharing. Thank you for coming back when I take on too many sponsored posts or ramble on about something boring or say something you just don’t agree with. Thank you for being my friends.

To celebrate you, I’m holding a Big Blog Birthday Giveaway! Woohoo!!

You can enter for a chance to win by leaving a comment, following me on Twitter or visiting my Facebook page (I’d love you to follow it, but *SIGH* legally I can’t make you.). I’m using Rafflecopter, so winners will be selected randomly by the computer when the giveaway closes next Sunday. We’ll have three winners, and here’s what those lucky readers will win:

Third prize = $25 gift card to Amazon
Second prize = 5 books from DaySpring: Surprised by Motherhood, Finding Spiritual Whitespace, Love Idol, The Best Yes, and Let’s All Be Brave

{drum roll…}

Grand prize = Kindle Fire HD (6″, 8GB)

Edited to add: This giveaway is now closed. Winners were selected randomly and contacted via email.

Are you as excited about this as I am?!? (Okay, maybe not. But I love my Kindle and, well, books in general, and I am so excited to share that with some of you!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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2015 State of the Blog Address

2015 State of the Blog - Giving Up on Perfect

This April I will have been blogging for seven years. Seven years! That’s considerably longer than I’ve held any one job, which is interesting. (To me. It’s interesting to me.) For the bloggers who began this journey around the same time as me, I think many of us have gone through similar stages:

Beginning blogger: *whispers* I’m, um, a blogger? I guess?
Blogger with some experience: *shouts* I love being a blogger! Here’s my card!
Seasoned blogger: *says with confidence* I’m a writer/artist, and I have a blog!
Veteran blogger: *says with resignation* Yeah…I’m a blogger. HEAVY SIGH.

Many of us seem to be gathering in corners of the internet, grumbling about this trend and that, railing against the forces of evil (Fine. I mean Facebook.), and generally telling those pesky kids to get off our lawns.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But as we begin this new year and I head into my seventh year of blogging, I’m feeling something different. I’m feeling hopeful and even peaceful. Contentment may even be close behind.

————

Over the weekend I was holding Adrienne and feeding her some dry breakfast cereal. If you must know, I was alternating cheerios with Reese’s Puffs because they are delicious, because she is adorable, and because I am weak.

But that’s not the point.

I held my hand out to her with one puff on it, and she gave me five. Not five puffs, but “gimme five!” five. It’s a new trick and an understandable mistake, since my hand was held out like I wanted her to give me five. However, it meant that puff went flying and landed on the floor.

You may find this shocking, but my floors aren’t the cleanest thing in the world, so I quickly grabbed a handful of new puffs to offer her.

But no. Oh no. That determined (as we’re calling her, because “obstinate” and “bull-headed” seem a bit premature and, well, not nice to call a one-year-old) little girl insisted on dive-bombing herself to the floor to get the not-so-clean puff.

As I wrangled her in an attempt to keep her head from banging into our hardwoods, I thought, “Good grief, kid! Why on earth would you want THAT ONE when you could have something so much better [aka, cleaner] up here?!”

And then I thought of all the times I’ve done the very same thing.

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This year of blogging, for me, will be about getting back to the reasons I began blogging in the first place. I started this blog to write and to find community. And while that’s remained the most important in my heart, I’ve gotten distracted by the new, the shiny, the bigger and the better too many times.

In short, I’ve dive-bombed off the couch for the dusty cereal when the fresh, clean snack is right in front of me.

So, my plan is to get back to basics. What does that look like for this blog?
More and less, I hope.

More posting to encourage and inspire (and entertain).
Less posting to meet deadlines. Less posting that requires disclosures.
More posting after giving my words time to simmer and take shape.
Less posting just because I haven’t posted anything in a while.
Regular (weekly? maybe.) posts where we simply chat about life.
Hosting Works for Me Wednesday and sharing tips for a real, imperfect life.
More talking about books and TV, because you seem to like that. (And so do I.)
More honesty, more humor, more heart. (And always, always, more alliteration.)

And I hope we’ll have more conversation. Let’s talk, huh? I love hearing about your life – or favorite books or recipe ideas or feelings about our favorite TV shows – more than I love telling you about mine. I love learning about you and getting to know you and sharing life with you.

That’s the state of this blog, this year. Will I do all this perfectly? No. Of course not. After all, we’re not about perfect here. But these are my goals for this blog, and I’m looking forward to Year Seven being a little bit different than the last few.

A few of my friends have written wise, well-researched and well-thought-out posts about the state of the blog in general and the state of their individual blogs. Good reads, all.

State of the Blog Address, 2015 – The Art of Simple
How to Stay Sane on the Internet – Chatting at the Sky
What You Can Expect to Find at This Corner of the Internet – Chasing Blue Skies

Let’s have some of that conversation now.

What would you like to see more and less of here?
And if you blog, what’s the state of your blog?

{Photos by Kristina Servant and Stacy Spensley }