Intentional Living

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‘I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow out of life.’ ~Henry David Thoreau

I recently finished reading Notes From A Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider. This is a wonderful read if you desire to live a better life making conscious choices that align with your values in life. A challenge to live more simply, more fully and with more purpose.

‘What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.’ ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 In reading this book, I couldn’t help but become challenged to look at my own life to see where I could tweak adjustments in order to live this one life I’ve been given with more intention. I am starting with 3 and will build from there.

  1. Purposely slowing down to enjoy the very process of living more intentionally. I wanted to create a unique daily ritual that would serve as a reminder to me the importance of  this. In my world, when the littles wake up my day is a go with any ‘ME’ going out the window. So, if I want to capture a moment that speaks to my spirit and energizes my soul, the time has to be found on purpose. I intentionally get up a few hours before the rest of the house and do different things such as: exercise, shower, devotional time, read, blog or journal. Doing a combination of these things delights my heart and helps bring quality inner peace to help clear the clutter and chaos.
  2. Increase sensitivity to the little things in life. I usually compare my days with my littles to the movie Groundhog Day. Our schedule is structured and aligned to their needs and brings them comfort in knowing the routine. Yet, there are little tweaks in each moment of the day to bring a bit of uniqueness to it. So instead of letting the monotony mangle my mind, I shift my thoughts to seeing the small, little changes. The new words my youngest is speaking, the chatterbox my oldest is becoming, the sweet embraces and kisses of siblings, laughter that erupts when gas is passed (yes, I have boys!!), the excitement they have when they see me…because these moments will not last forever. They will transition into new phases as their little lives change them into little men in the blink of an eye. I want to keep a keen sensitivity to these little things in life so I created a gratitude journal that I write these blessings down to help me to remember the moment now as well as a list to reflect on later to remember what was.
  3. Making daily choices that align my life with passions and values that reflects my unique personality. There are so many different paths one can journey along. To me, this is weeding through the mass quantity in order to value the quality. I’m applying this in different areas of my life, but for a simple example I am putting it to use in the world of the web. With all types of social media ~ facebook, instagram, twitter, pinterest, etc…it can be overwhelming and quite burdensome to navigate through these daily. I’ve chosen a few I want to invest in while putting aside the others for a season. I’ve done the same with blogs I enjoy reading. I could literally get lost within myself reading blogs all day. There are many great ones out there! Yet, I’ve chosen a few that I will read on a regular basis that fit my personality and interests best (weeding through the mass to value quality).

If you find yourself following your life instead of consciously making daily choices that align your life to your passions and personality, you might enjoy this book. It is not one that you read once and never pick back up. It will be one that I revisit often to guide me deeper into this intentional living.

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Being Brave

“You wouldn’t be too terribly upset if I pawned off the littles, huh?”

This was a real life text message I sent the husband just yesterday. Take off the judgment glasses because we have all been there! As Ann Voskamp said, “Sometimes the bravest thing is showing up for your life everyday.” #Word

Anyways,it was ONE of those days! A day where overwhelming oppositions about shattered my calm place, and Mommy nearly came UNGLUED. I always use to pride myself on being patient, that was until I had my own children.

Should I tell you that my oldest was lacking in the sleep department, is fitting quite nicely in the outfit of the terrible 2’s, has the same number of major meltdown moments as there are hours in a day over the simplest of situations. Both boys have bronchitis, our youngest is teething, going through a major growth spurt, is in that ‘into everything’ stage, and seems to be a bit more on the emotional/clingy/ sensitive side this month….which translates into outbursts of his own. In this challenging season of Motherhood, where life is stretching me so thin that I am becoming anorexic in other areas that I’m passionate about.

Investing every moment of each day into my boy blessings I have no extra time or energy to fill my own bucket. Writing. Reading. Conversations. Connection. These are just a few things that make me come alive and feel like Shana…not Mommy. I matter. You matter. We have great and mighty purposes within us waiting to be exhaled to enrich others.

I came to this place recently one night. This place where sometimes you have to be raw with the realities of your life ~ scratching beyond the surface level of all your good intentions. As I quieted myself from all the chaos and calmed my mind to regroup my thoughts to hear His still, gentle whisper I asked for Him to start the process of stitching up the brokenness of my heart, during this season of what feels like climbing a mountain.

Opening the Word I knew Isaiah is where I would find comfort…turned to chapter 40 and began reading. I fell into verse 9 and stayed awhile. “Climb a high mountain, Zion. You’re the preacher of good news. Raise your voice. Make it good and loud, Jerusalem. You’re the preacher of good news. Speak loud and clear. Don’t be timid! (The Message)

When negativity surrounds your circumstances/situations and you become a clanging voice trapped inside, there is always hope for transformation into the new. When you are in a ‘climbing the mountain’ type of season, just remember the words and comfort of Isaiah 40:9.

“The brave are the ones who trace the inside of their everyday wounds and don’t grow hard.”   ~Ann Voskamp