Thoughts on a thriving life.
Think back to school when you sat in a class, listened to a professor talk and took notes. Remember the margins on your paper? What did you fill them with?
Hearts, flowers, flowing vines, and random designs filled mine.
The margins were the free space, the blank part of the paper that had no purpose other than what I wanted it to be.
Our lives have margins as well. There is space in each of our lives that is free to be what we want, or maybe an even better way to say it is, what we need it to be.
Some of our margins are wide with lots of space to be filled.
Some of our margins are small spaces crammed into a busy life.
Some of us think we have small margins but really our margins are filled with “stuff” because somewhere we heard that to be busy meant you were successful or that you were someone.
For the past two years, my life has contained very small margins. Major life events have shifted the course of where I thought my life was going. I went from being a stay-at-home mom to going back to school, working full-time, raising two boys as a single mom, and more. It’s been a crazy life and many days I felt, and sometimes still do feel, like I am just making it moment to moment.
Thankfully, I am walking into a season where my margins have expanded again. There is once again moments of free space in my days. As I find myself with this space, I have a new understanding of the effects of being purposeful in how I fill the margins. It is the free spaces in my life that grounds me in who I am and fills me with hope and joy. It is in these places that I am filled up so I can continue to pour out. I cannot pour out what I do not have.
I find myself fighting against the pull of busyness and filling the margins in my life so I can prove that I am somehow successful or worth it. But the bags under the eyes are not badges of success and the “hurry, hurry, hurry” streaming from my mouth is not how I want to raise my boys or live my life.
Margins can also be stolen away by “good” things. TV, movies, Facebook, Pinterest, even blogging, while not always bad, can suck my time away until the margins are gone. And often I find that instead of filling me, they can deplete me and lure me into comparison game. Rather filling my thoughts with thankfulness and gratitude for the many gifts I have, I find myself grieving or coveting something or someone else.
At this point, I could easily launch into three or five steps for intentionally filling your margins. In fact I had three points written out and while they were great, something stopped me. I stopped because those three points would be me telling you what to put into your margins but they are not my margins to fill. They are your margins, your space to fill with what fills you up. And my margins, well they are my space. So instead of three steps, I have two simple questions that I am asking myself and maybe you will find it helpful as well.
If you are at a place in your life where you know you need more margins in your life but are feeling lost in the how, I'd love to chat with you. As a Coach, I enjoy working with people on discovering the answers to the questions above about their own lSend me an e-mail or give me a call. (503-805-9021)
We had a string of strong April showers role through our neighborhood yesterday. The boys and I drove through one of these showers on our way to church. However in true April fashion, the sun was also shining so bright that I had a hard time seeing. And so began our rainbow hunt.
Each of us craned our necks looking for the rainbow we felt certain the rain and sun would create and our search was rewarded with a beautiful rainbow against the stormy sky.
Rainbows are the reflection of the colors in light. Most of the time I can't see the color in the light. However, when the light shines through the rain, a beautiful sight unfolds before my eyes.
Rainbows are also a reminder to me of promises. God put a beautiful rainbow in the sky for Noah as a promise of his love, goodness and faithfulness. They remind me to not focus on what I see, especially in the midst of a storm, but rather to focus on what I know to be true.
For most of us, some aspect of life does not look as we imagined or dreamed. Maybe its our history, something that happened in the past that fills us with grief or shame. Maybe its our present reality.
For me, life as it exists right now, is so far outside of what I imagined my life looking. I had the opportunity to share my story with someone this past weekend and in someways it felt like I was telling someone else's story. Being divorced and a single-mom was never a thought that crossed my mind.
Honestly, this past month has been hard. The divorce was finalized and our family home was sold. While we have been separated for over 18 months, the reality and finality of everything has surfaced my grief over the death of a dream and my fear for the future. I have felt drained and empty. Both of these feelings are warning signs to me to take a step-back because something is not right. As I look back I realize my focus has been on the storm. All I am seeing is the loss, grief and fear instead of looking for the rainbows. The rainbows appear as I ask God to shine His light in the storm.
My rainbows...God's promises are eternal. They are true whether I see them or not. His love for me is never ending, never-giving up, unchangeable. He is my provider, my comforter, my defender. These are my light in the storm. They are what give me hope and joy, even in the midst of my storm.
As you read, consider...What are the storms that keep you from seeing the rainbows? My challenge to myself and to you this week is to stop and ask for the Light to shine through the storm and show you the rainbows. I would love to hear your story or thoughts. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah is a PCI Certified Parent Coach® and owner of Foundations Parent and Life Coaching. She is passionate about working with parents and individuals who want to build the foundation for a thriving life. If you are interested in working with her on any parenting or life challenges, you can contact her at email@example.com
Relationships are important to me. I firmly believe that being known and being connected with the people around us is what gives us meaning and strength. I believe we are created for relationship. As many of you know, I am in the process of building my own parent and life coaching practice. If you are like me, I had no idea what parent coaching was 2 years ago before I started my certification program. To help you get an understanding of one of the key elements of parent coaching, I want to tell you a story.
Last year for Spring Break, my two boys and I went to visit some dear friends who live east of Seattle on Whidbey island in the Puget Sound. For those of you not from the Pacific Northwest spring break here usually means rain. However, during our visit the sun was shining, the sky was blue and we are soaking it up. Now being on an island and having the sun shinning meant we had to go to the beach!
As we drove to the beach visions of sand and waves danced in my head. But when we arrived, there was no sand to be found. The beach was covered in rocks. When I looked out across the rocks I felt sad. I was disappointed because what I had imagined, what I wanted, was not what I had in front of me.
But when I looked down I discovered something. The rocks were beautiful. There were green, pink, and orange rocks. Some rocks were stripped while others were speckled. My friend and I sat there with our children for over an hour delighting in the uniqueness and beauty of each rock.
I learned something that day. I learned to stop and look for the treasures. I could have chosen to only see the disappointment of the rocky beach or a day that did not go as I had imagined. But in stopping and examining the details, we found great beauty and treasure. I have a jar of rocks from this day sitting next to my bed as a reminder to stop and see the gift in every circumstance.
When I work with clients as coach, one of the first stage of our work together is to discover the gifts of life as it exists right now. I love this stage because so often we miss the gifts in our own lives. Busyness keeps us from taking the time to appreciate them. Or maybe life doesn't look how we dreamed it would and we focus on the loss of this dream rather than the gifts that are in our lives right now. Whatever it is that keeps us from seeing our gifts, it is keeping us from delighting and living in what is already there. And do you know what, these gifts are what make you the best parent for your child! I was not meant to be your child's parent nor was the author of the three steps to whatever it is you think your child should magically be doing. As I work with parents, we use the strengths we discover as a foundation for the action steps we will design together later. Did you hear the word "foundation" there? Its the reason my practice is called "Foundations Parent and Life Coaching." It is my desire and passion to work with parents to build the foundation for thriving.
So my friends, old and new, take a moment to stop and look for a treasure in your life as it exists right now. I would love to hear your what it is that you are discovering! You can leave a comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What treasure do I see today? Tonight I was tackled by a seven year old who came flying at me as he jumped from his bed to his brother's...where I was happily sitting already to calmly and quietly read our Bible together. And as he smothered me and laughed in pure hysterics and we wrestled my heart overflowed in the delight of loving my boys just how they needed...through tackles and tickles!
I'm going to be honest. The past 18 months of my life have been hard. Hard down to the deepest parts of my soul. My heart has grieved as my dream of life and family has been shifted and refined. There have been days that waking up and moving through the simple rhythms of the day have taken all my energy and focus.
Soon after the boys and I moved in my parents I was struck with the truth that even when life doesn't look like what I want it to, there are gifts in that place that must be recognized. Thankfulness is an act of recognition. By recognizing the gifts my heart overflows with hope and joy. Thankfulness has become a key daily rhythm for me and for my boys. It focus' me on what is working in my life and in my parenting.
Every other weekend my boys enjoy time with their dad. Honestly, its been difficult to fall into this new rhythm. Often I want to dwell on the negative...the moments I am missing every other weekend or the stress of arranging our life around this every other weekend schedule. When I do, my heart is heavy and the tears are always near the surface. It is my choice to recognize the gift or not... The gift of time to run without pressure of returning by a certain time, the gift of quiet moments in the morning to sleep, read and journal, and the joy and sweetness of the boy's sloppy kisses and wrestling loudness when they returned Sunday evening. I'm not saying that tears don't rise to the surfaces still but in my recognition of the gift I am able to smile through the tears.
Thoughts for this week...
As a woman, mom, friend, and lover of Jesus, it is my desire to live present and wholeheartedly in each moment of my life. Daily Rhythms is full of thoughts, encouragement, parenting information, and my personal journey in living wholehearted in the daily rhythms of life.