As we close out another school year amidst the budding flowers and bright blue skies, I am reminded of the fact that with every ending there is a beginning. Sometimes it is hard to realize this as one door is closing, but inevitably the phrase “When one door closes another door opens..” rings true and the opened door comes into the light.
Spring will do that to us; there are so many emotions being felt over closing the doors on parts of our life and seasons of childhood. We celebrate the accomplishments and hard work, while shedding tears over knowing that things will be different and a part of our life is flagged as a memory. The bittersweet emotions hit me hard this time of the year, but I am happy for the newness of spring to usher in a reminder that sometimes what is to come is even better than what was behind. And that I also would not ever give the memories of yesterday up so as to not be feeling this way today. This spring has been one that has renewed in me a sense of myself, a one of reminders and indicators to slow down; to take a step back and evaluate what is truly important. I have never been one that has dealt with change well, however the winds of change that I started to feel this last fall are ones that have just started to sprout in my life now…just in time for me to take it all in and let it blossom further this summer. (If you wanted to catch up with past lessons here are my Lessons from Winter and my Lessons from Fall…)
So here’s to the lessons learned in my season of renewal and refocus…there is a good mix here…I hope they make you laugh, nod your head in comradery and also leave you inspired.
(Thank you to Emily Freeman who hosts a seasonal link up on ‘What I Have Learned’-type posts and has inspired me to reflect, ponder and write while also helping me to find space for my soul to breath…check out her post and the link up here!)
What I Learned this Spring (in no particular order):
- There is beauty everywhere. We just need to look for it…and be grateful for it. I have to admit that I do not always see beauty, but every once in awhile I am reminded that it is there. I wrote an IG post about this back in March (you know when the weather is still winter-ish, but we are all about done and just want warmth and flowers and green grass). I realized on a random drive to Target how little things can pop out and be big things, small moments can be great memories and being grateful for these things can make life more worthwhile and joyful. See the post here and the pic that inspired it all below.
- De-cluttering is good for your soul.
I do not let go of things easily. I always think I may need it someday. For the most part I keep a lot more than I should, but too much stuff can weigh us down. Especially stuff that we no longer use or aren’t even sure what it is anymore. I used to teach and so I had many boxes of books, binders, bulletin board posters, etc. holding up space in our storage room. I wrote more about why I will not need or use this stuff again here, but I have since cleared ALL of it out and it feels fantastic! I donated much of it to my daughter’s school and threw some out. The weight of all of that extra stuff and the ‘baggage’ that was felt from keeping stuff that I had moved on from was lifted and it did wonders for my soul. If you have any extra ‘stuff’ that causes you angst in your storage or home, it might be time to suck it up, go through it and clean it out.
- Taking a break is ok and sometimes totally necessary.
During Lent, I had made a promise to restrict my social media usage to 1-2 times a day, but it didn’t happen. I think I was actually on it more than usual! I had turned off the push notifications off so I didn’t have those numbers staring at me every time I looked at my phone, but I was still not good about staying off of the apps on my phone. So for Holy Week I took a break. I went off of social media completely. I did not check it or look at it at all. It was perfect for me; to gain clarity, purpose and some peace. This really helped me to see how much we depend and get into habits that we may not be aware of. Social media is supposedly supposed to help us connect, but in many ways I think it has caused more division. This ‘break’ really helped me to see how much I don’t really want to be on it as much and how much more I crave actual presence with people. This summer I am making a promise to do more of what the below quote states.
- We can’t control it all…and we were never meant to. This is something that seems so elementary; I mean of course we can’t control it all, right? Except I often find myself unconsciously thinking I can and getting upset when I can’t. It may be my perfectionist tendencies and my people pleasing mentality (I am working on both…), but there are times when I can’t climb the mountain of changing other people’s thoughts about me or control how they behave or speak to me anymore. I reach a breaking point and in order to save my sanity, I truly have to embrace ‘Let it Go and Let God’. It is then that I realize I wasn’t meant to stress about it anyway, it was never in my hands to begin with and there is peace in the letting go. This can be easier said than done, especially when we have put ourselves out there, been vulnerable and opened up our hearts…and still rejection, because the opinions of others can hurt. This is when I have to remember the below quote and realize my focus really should only be on the One whose opinion is the only true one that matters in the first place.
- Reaching out and giving grace helps more than you realize.
There are times that we just need to reach out to others, even if it makes us uncomfortable and even if we don’t know what to say or do. Presence means so much, but many times we will ignore the thoughts that remind us of someone going through a difficult time or the feelings of possibly calling or reaching out in some way because it is inconvenient or even makes us uncomfortable or anxious. Since my grandma was put in hospice care last summer and then eventually passed away in September, I have come to realize how much it means to have someone reach out. The texts, messages, visits or availability of those that showed up at the visitation, funeral, but especially beyond the funeral were where I truly received the love and connection I needed (and still sometimes need!) during difficult times. Those that didn’t expect me to show up at functions or gave me a pass when I ‘all of a sudden‘ had to cancel meeting up because I needed to visit my Grandma when she was sick. Those that look past my anger and roller coaster emotions that seem to present themselves every once in awhile, but especially during holidays and other days of significance. An extra effort given to those that are having a hard time means so much and takes an ability to look beyond oneself in order to be a true display of God’s love. This has also taught me how important it is for me to reach out as others have done for me.
- Celebrate your loved ones’ by honoring their birthdays.
May 5th, to most, is Cinco de Mayo; a day to drink margaritas and eat chips and guac. And while that does come to mind for me, I also know it is/was my Grandma’s birthday. This last month was the first one without her here. It was a little difficult and I tried to keep myself busy as to not think about it. I never thought to do something to honor her on her birthday, until a good friend of mine said to celebrate her life today. She said that her family goes to her Grandpa’s favorite restaurant on his birthday and it helps keep his memory alive to them. This got me thinking and I loved the idea of doing something that honored a loved one on his/her birthday. My Grandma loved books and was a voracious reader. I decided this year we would all pick a book off of Amazon to purchase; me, Seth and both kids. It was fun to pick them out with the kids and then to receive them in the mail a few days later. We plan to continue the tradition of books in the years to come, whether it is buying books for ourselves, for others or maybe donating books. This has also spurred us to do this for other loved ones’ that are no longer with us on their birthdays too…thinking of some special way to remind us of them on their special day. (Picture below shows the books we chose)
- Kids do notice. Sometimes in the midst of motherhood and the everyday, it seems like we are somewhat invisible. I know it can feel like that for me anyway. I go through the day to day and I focus on my family’s needs, the to-do’s and tend to the house, etc. I am not aware of the fact that I have little eyes watching and taking me in since I, for the most part, am taking them in. Then I get this Mother’s Day card and it brings tears to my eyes because it is written out for me to see…they do notice…or at least my seven year old does <3 My two (almost three) year old does in his own way too. He likes to rub my back when I pick him up and he gives me a hug when I am sad. These are things I will treasure, they notice me and it makes my heart so happy <3
- We are sent messages, signs, people, angels all the time, to help us and to change our focus…we just have to be aware and look for it.
I have been getting a lot of signs recently. I think I may have missed them if I wasn’t aware that they might be sent. The first being a friend reaching out the night I needed it the most and while I missed the call it was most definitely heaven sent. I had a pretty hard situation I was dealing with, a lot of anger, frustration and loneliness that came at me after a confrontation earlier in the evening. This friend called and texted me that night after I prayed intensely for friendship. She said she felt God telling her to get in touch with me. It was the answer of hope after despair that I needed to keep going. The second being a pair of doves that showed up the day after my Grandma’s birthday and stuck around our house until Mother’s Day weekend (right after my Grandpa’s birthday a week later). I do not see doves in this area often and I looked up the meaning. It could be a sign that things need to be let go and to allow serenity and peace to come. Everyday I saw them in either our backyard or front yard. Always catching me off guard, but reminding me all the same of the peace I am being offered and need to give myself. Sometimes I would see one and other times two. They would be in the street when I took Paisley to school or show up in the backyard when I was on the phone with my Mom and we were talking about my Grandma. They also both flew over me while in the coffee drive thru (behind our house), one landing on the light pole in front of me and watching me the entire time. It was incredible! And then I was reminded of why birds are such an important connection to my Grandma; we had a bird at the Omaha zoo that we called ‘our bird’. She took me to the zoo many times as a little girl and it became a vivid memory. While it wasn’t a dove, it was a unique and beautiful purple exotic bird and one that showed up when searching for dove pictures for this post. I also have many of her primitive home decor birds in my house now. I truly believe these doves were a sign from my grandparents. I do not believe it was a coincidence that it was the time between their birthdays that they came to visit me and during a time when I have been feeling anxious and restless about many things. These are signs sent to me for a reason. We all are sent signs at one time or another…be aware and watchful, there may be one waiting for you also. <3 (The doves are in the below picture…two on the swing set right below the leaves on the tree)
- My husband should build furniture.
A few months ago I was searching for a bookshelf, but couldn’t find the size that I wanted for the space I needed it for. My husband offered to build one for me to my exact measurements and in the distressed look that I love. He got to work and created a one of a kind bookshelf that I love! I told him he really needs to open his own shop on the side! I am still in the convincing stage at the moment, but check out the picture below and maybe leave a comment or two if you also think he should open up an online shop! Maybe others’ thoughts will push him over the edge! 😉
- I have a square face.
I got an urge to change my hair recently. And it wouldn’t go away. I became a little (ok a lot!) obsessed with this! If you follow me on Pinterest you may have seen the 20 or so new hair pins that I saved! In my hair ‘research‘ I was bound and determined to make sure the new style I chose (since now I am in for good…I am pretty determined…once I decide something I very rarely go back on it!) would suit me and my face. I have often wondered what face shape I have; I could never really decide based on the descriptions I would see in magazines and online. So I found an actual quiz and inventory online that helped me determine that I most definitely have a square face! I had the tape measure out and everything folks! If you want to try it out for yourself, click here and see what face shape you have! Click here to find hair styles to fit your shape! Below is a picture of me with a half topknot that I also recently discovered because #easy and #momlife! 😉 (although I will now be attempting the half topknot a little differently…see next lesson below!)
Change is good. I tend to be resistant to change. I don’t like a lot of upheaval and sticking by what I know makes life easier and more familiar. This is what I say and fall back on, but in fact I have had to endure many changes in my life, but (after initial shock and freak outs) try to look for the best in a situation. And usually within the change I end up finding more of myself and am led down a direction that I would not have found if I had stayed in my safe bubble. The last few months I have felt an extreme lack of motivation and many feelings of being stuck. I have been reading the book Hands Free Life by Rachel Macy Stafford (affiliate link) and it is like a light bulb shines bright above my head with every chapter or I am reading through tear-filled eyes, either way it is resonating with me in a big way! It is exactly what I need to be reading right now. I need the change of mindset; one that says it is ok to just be; be present with my people, be more aware of making lasting connections, be more able to take care of myself and pursue passions and hobbies I have put off for awhile, be more fulfilled in this season of motherhood and so on. I am craving change right now…truly craving it. So I started with my hair! Lol! One day I decided I wanted hair like Kelly Ripa so (after my face shape research) I did…I wanted to go back to more blonde anyway. I am looking forward to starting some new hobbies and meeting up with old friends and ones I hope to become new friends. I am soaking up time with my quickly growing children and I am loving the freedom of a break from the ordinary. My plan is to pursue a more ‘Hands-Free’ summer with my family and to let go of the idea that I need to be achieving or doing so.many.things in order to be successful or happy. Change can be a good thing, especially when it leads to more positivity, hope and peace. (Check out my new hair below!) I am looking forward to this new season and the many lessons I have to gain in it as well. But first I would love to hear from you!
What did you learn this spring?
Do any of my lessons resonate with you in any particular way?
What are you looking forward to this summer?