… but not yet.

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When I started this blog several years ago, I called it Be Still and Know because of lessons I had recently started to learn. Stillness had not been a part of my life for many years. Presence was absent. I’d been missing the joy and peace of living in the moment as my thoughts absorbed all my attention. Over the past five years, I’ve learned many things that have enriched the initial awakening that started the summer of 2013. Learning mindfulness techniques and acceptance was just the beginning. Recognizing that I’d long lived with a fixed mindset was very important and impactful! Recently studying the Enneagram and realizing my perfectionist (Type 1) tendency has opened new avenues for exploration and growth.

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A couple years back, ideas for a book started percolating in my heart and mind. Particularly while out on runs, I’d come up with great ideas. Alas, it wasn’t convenient to jot them down while miles from home with nothing to write on! Life kept getting in the way of writing. I prayed for God to help guide my efforts.

Then, this year of change occurred. The kids switched schools. We remodeled our home and did major construction on the backyard. We traveled and I got promoted which involved a lot of transition at work. In short, life happened. Writing a book fell really far down the priority list. But, writing this today I don’t feel discouraged from my dream. Instead I hear a clear message from God: You’re not ready to write your book… yet.

Last week I had breakfast with the Head of School and Director of Advancement (and church family friend) at The Cambridge School. We had a delightful meal as we discussed classical Christian education and how our family has transitioned to the new school. I shared with them my struggle to embrace a growth mindset and release a fixed mindset. It’s very humbling to admit that I needed to start down this path of growth myself before I could nurture my children through their education. The Head of School wisely shared that, in teaching with a growth mindset, one of the main words they use is “yet”. As in, “you haven’t learned how to solve complex fractions, yet.” Or “you haven’t developed a strong organizational system, yet.” This simple word helps encourage students to keep working to learn and grow.

A consistent pattern in my life has been this persistent feeling that I need to have everything figured out. It’s a remnant of the fixed mindset and I’d venture to guess something that many Enneagram Type 1 personalities struggle with! It’s the antithesis of growth and acceptance. When life gets really full and busy (like it’s been the past 6-8 weeks!), this sense that I need to figure out everything that’s going to happen intensifies. In these moments, acceptance of my feelings and my limitations is key. When I finally slow down, let go of my persistent (and often unhelpful) thoughts, and remember that I am (and always will be!) growing then I can surrender to God’s will and be present in the moment.

This pattern will likely continue throughout my life because I’m human and sinful. Through God’s grace, I’m growing through each season of life. One day, there may be wisdom that I can share in book form. I would love to write something that’s helpful for others on this journey of life. But, that time is not here… yet.

 

 

All the Good Things.

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Every time I come back to this blog after a prolonged silence I want to start by explaining that life has been full the past several weeks or months.  It’s once again true!  Life for me and my little family has been exceptionally full and very good the past couple months.

IMG_0973We’ve all been growing and learning by leaps and bounds.  The kids in their new wonderful school, Dennis and me as we guide them through this educational transition!  The classical Christian education at The Cambridge School is exceptional, but also a lot more work!

I’m also undergoing yet another transition at work.  My career at CBIZ has been full of growth opportunities and periods of transition.  Currently I’m training a replacement for the scheduling function as I take over management of the Admin Team, all by myself.  I had a great co-manager for the past year, but her recent promotion allowed me to grow into this role of sole manager over a team of 25 people across six locations!  I’m so excited for the opportunity to focus all my work time and effort on management, but it’s not without growing pains.

In 2018 we remodeled our living room, master bedroom and entire backyard into an outdoor living space.  At one point late this summer Mateo lamented, “Why does everything in my life have to change?!”  I could see his point and relate.  As a kid I hated when we changed things like a sofa or a car.  We sought to spend lots of time as a family cocooning the kids during this period of so much change.

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November was a packed month.  Once we got through fall “busy season” at work, my personal busier time kicked in.  I helped chaperone Sienna’s field trip to Medieval Times just the day before we left for five nights in Anaheim with my mom and my sister’s family.  We spent 4 full days at Disneyland!  Five kids and five adults was a good ratio.  They never outnumbered us and everyone had a hand to hold!  We headed to San Diego for Thanksgiving dinner at our house.  It was relaxing to kick back after all the days of Disney fun.

The Monday after Thanksgiving, I headed out for a four day/three night work trip to visit offices throughout Southern California.  My mom helped Dennis hold down the fort while I was gone.  My coworkers kept asking me if my kids we’re missing me, to which I replied, “No, my mom made everyone fried chicken and Teo is getting to sleep in my bed, they’re happy!”  It was good timing to be away, since we’d just enjoyed a long span of intense togetherness. 🙂

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December truly seems to fly by faster and faster every year (as Amy Grant wisely observed)!  We enjoyed my office holiday party, Christmas on the Prado in Balboa Park, two weekends of All Star soccer tournaments, and I ran a half marathon with my friend, Leslie.  We’ve also spent many evenings watching Christmas movies and relaxing as a family and with our dear friends.

Earlier this fall I dug into The Enneagram, an ancient system of personality types, and learned that I’m undoubtedly a Type 1: The Perfectionist (or, The Improver).  This realization has been very helpful as I continue to embrace a growth mindset and let go of my need for control.  I’ve had a few episodes of painful growth, including losing it over Teo’s performance in a soccer tournament.  Not my best moment.  That’s an understatement.  I felt relatively balanced and present as work became busier this fall, but eventually I started fusing with the thoughts “I’m overwhelmed!” and “I don’t want to be this busy!” a couple weeks ago.

When I start believing my thoughts, I retreat into my mind and away from the present moment.  Fortunately, I’m more in touch with my feelings and can fairly quickly identify the problem.  The solution is always the same: pray, acknowledge my weaknesses and sinfulness, surrender, look around me at what matters most, pray some more, be intentional with my actions.  Repeat. Repeat again.

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This past Friday I attended my first Lessons & Carols program at The Cambridge School.  The kids each performed a carol with their class and Sienna also performed with the choir.  The lessons and music were exactly what I needed to slow down and focus on the advent season more fully.  My dear friend Michelle arrived for a holiday visit the same evening.  It’s always such a joy to reconnect with her!  She asked the kids about their new school and teachers.  Sienna explained that her favorite thing about the school is “…they don’t stifle my creativity.  They let us talk about myths and legends!”

When Teo and I tried to describe his teacher, I said, “She’s so wise, poised, loving and incredibly gifted with communicating with the kids…”  Teo chimed in, “She is all the good words.”  I loved the sweet, simple honesty of that statement.   It truly describes not only Teo’s incredible teacher but all the gifts we enjoy in this life.  As Christmas and New Year are upon us, I’m so thankful for all the grace and love we have through Christ Jesus.  As we all grow and change, He is constant in providing all we need for this life and the next.

Merry Christmas!