Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!

 

I survived! That’s all I keep thinking as I’m able to pick up Forest for the first time in months and able to scale the stairs without screaming. I feel like a million bucks. I’ve been thanking and praising God constantly for the last two weeks. We don’t do that enough, do we?

He answers our prayers and it’s so easy to say, “Great, thanks… now how about fixing this?” I’m trying to really rest in thanksgiving and smother Mary in kisses of prayers. I feel a deep joy inside of me when I can make my own food or drive somewhere!

I’m still struggling with walking more than a few hundred feet or putting my clothes on. My muscles are so weak that it will take time to build them back up again. But even in that, I welcome the hard work because it’s better than being in constant pain.

I did the St. Therese Novena but instead of asking for something, I just asked her to tell Jesus how deeply thankful I am for a whole list of things in my life, including not being in bed anymore! It was an interesting experience. And though I did not ask for any roses, I thought it was very interesting that we had one bloom in our front yard half-way through the novena. If you heard about goats taking over our neighborhood, these same goats ate all our rose bushes. So it was very special that one bud seemed to survive and fight to bloom this very week. I’m not sure what it means but I’m choosing to interpret it as St. Therese saying, “I see you kid, I told Jesus you’re grateful, keep up the good work!”

On that note, I’ve lined up what I want to tackle in the next few months. I’ve laid out my plans for the rest of the year so I wanted to let you know ahead of time! Barring any other crazy life surprises (and I’ve learned not to discount that possibility), this is what I’ll be working on and I’d love for you to join me!

October – 40 day Minimalism Challenge

October 19th – Start Marian Consecration. Lasts 33 days. Consecration on Nov. 21st.

November 15-17 – Free Advent and Liturgical Living Workshop online

December 27-January 2nd – Catholic Goals Course sign-up. Lasts for three months.

January 3-7 – Fit and Holy Challenge Sign-up. Lasts for three months.

I think it’s going to be an extremely fun and productive fourth quarter and I can’t wait to shape up and level up in 2019! I have some big plans that mostly include creating some stability in my everyday life.

As I gear up to tackle more things at home and to build up strength in my body again, I was hit with a feeling of analysis paralysis about where to start. I’ve been out of commission for so long that there were so many things I wanted to do but I knew I couldn’t do them all at once. So I wanted to share my tips for getting back into normal routines after living through a season of survival whether that was for weeks or years.

Step One: Write down all the things you’d like to accomplish. I mean it, lay it all out there. Fill up a whole sheet of paper or a notebook. Get all your ideas and dreams out of your mind and onto the page so you can see them.

Step Two: Start comparing two and asking, “Which one would I rather have?” For example, right now I’m struggling, as I always do, to breastfeed. I know that I can pour more energy into breastfeeding but that will leave less time for my ministry work and it will likely delay any weight loss progress for me. I’ve always struggled to lose weight while breastfeeding. So I have to ask myself, which is more important?

When you do this over and over again, you’ll start to see the really important things rise to the top. You know you can’t have it all. You also know a lot of the important things take a very long time to accomplish or, in the case of living daily habits, you will never finish working on that skill.

I try to narrow my list down to 3-6 things to focus on.

Step Three: Put a time and energy estimate by each item. Reading your Bible for five minutes each morning only takes… five minutes. Losing weight, however, usually involves a whole lot of willpower for every hour that you’re awake. They may each take up a line in your list of goals but the energy required for each of them is very different.

I’m working on a rating system to help quantify goals for this year’s course so you can actually put numbers to the things you want to work on but clearly see which ones take a lot of energy and which ones don’t.

Step Four: Put simple, daily habits on your calendar or on your phone. For the big goals that are left, decide when you’re going to work on them and put limits. Let’s say you want to improve your marriage. Well that’s never going to be completely accomplished and you can’t be working on your marriage all the time so try to compartmentalize it.

Maybe you have a notebook and in the morning you ask yourself, “How can I make my husband’s life better today?” You write down one thing and you do that one thing. Maybe you schedule weekly date night or weekly counseling. Maybe you read a book. Create some finite tasks and then be satisfied with those. Otherwise, it’s easy to wake up after a week and think, “I didn’t make any progress. We’re still not happy. This is never going to get better.” This is the same process I use for parenting and schooling too.

Step Five: Test out a week doing all the things you decided on then check in with yourself. How did it go? Was it too much? What obstacles popped up? How can you make next week better?

Always be refining because your life is always going to be changing!

In the fourth quarter of 2018, I’ll be working on:

  • Reading through Jeff Cavins’ Adventure Bible (review coming soon)
  • Drinking 64 oz of Mother’s Milk Tea and other various things to improve breastfeeding
  • Spending 10 minutes on our recumbent bike and 10 minutes doing strength building exercises
  • Teaching the girls how to clean bathrooms and vacuum
  • Doing marriage counseling once a week with my husband
  • Learning how to use my TempDrop

In two weeks, I’ll let you know how it’s going and how I’ve refined my plans so you can get a sense of how I continually update what my focus is on.

In the meantime, I leave you with this fabulous quote from St. Therese:

“You want to scale the mountain of sanctity… but God wants to meet you in the valley of humility.”

Snap. That is such a powerful quote. I think I’m going to frame it and put it next to my computer. I really want to just sit with that quote and ask myself how I can better live in the valley of humility?

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