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Being Present | Thoughtful Thursday

I saw this quote the other day, and it instantly struck a chord.

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It’s basically the theme of all the problems in my life. I am usually not one for grandiose new year’s resolutions, but this year my one personal goal is to live in the PRESENT.

I have a tendency to look back to “what was” or look ahead to “what will be” all to the cost of the “what is.” How can I ensure that the “what is” will be worth looking back on as “what was?” By living in the IS.

Whew. That was a tongue twister, but I think you know what I mean 🙂

Some days, I’m aware of this and really try to work on it, and other days I find myself sulking or become extremely self-focused. On those days, I realize I am reverting to my natural “the grass is greener on the other side” ways. I have to do a mental shift and snap myself into where I’m at. Because you know what? There have been many days in my past where I sat wanting my “current life (then)” to be different. I can remember being single, getting up early every day and working a job so I could support myself and thinking, “I can’t wait for the day when I’m married and have a kid, and I can just stay home all day and be a Mom.” Well guess what? That day is here! And what am I doing? Looking either backwards to a rose-colored past or dreaming of a future with daisies and unicorns.

Now let me be clear– I am not saying that remembering the lovely memories of my past is a bad thing. In fact, it’s why I take so many pictures and am borderline obsessive about making photo books each year. I LOVE looking back and reliving special times. But there is a healthy way to do that, and often I fear that I’m not in the realm of healthy.

So this brings me to the PRESENT MOMENT. Right now, at this very moment, I sit typing in my kitchen with iced coffee (slightly watered down from melted ice, but next to me 😉 ), while my 4 month old naps in his room. Sounds pretty fabulous. And if I take a moment to truly experience the now and the moments I have to be thankful for, my day goes so much better.

The reality is that Otto will eventually wake up. He might fuss or demand my attention while I attempt to get dinner going. We may be rushing around trying to fit in his evening nap before packing everyone into the car tonight to get to Life Group on time. And that is another kind of “here and now” that I believe most Moms experience on the daily. But there is beauty in those moments, too… if we choose to see them.

One of the best ways to do this is to foster a heart of gratitude. Last summer, I started a borrowed book called “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. I never finished it, but I plan to order my own personal copy and start over fresh and actually get through it this time. One thing I DID start was a list of one thousand things that I can be thankful for. Not every list item is a big thing. A lot of them are quite small or mundane. But those small, mundane things are what comprise the bulk of our days and eventually become the theme of what we look back and remember.

I stopped adding to the list back on 9/12/17 and here were my last 6 list items…

173) Feeling “ready” for baby boy

174) My photography business and clients

175) Pumpkin candy corn

176) Pumpkin pie

177) My back deck

178) Neighborhood activity

I guarantee I was sitting out on my back deck as I wrote those, 948 days pregnant, likely after consuming a piece of pumpkin pie and listening to the goings-on around me. And as I sit now and read that, I smile. There is such joy in gratitude for the simplicity.

I plan to resurrect this list and continue adding to it. I have 4 months to look back on and review until I start adding present items, but it will be a great activity. It causes me to see some of the challenges of these past several months through the lens of thankfulness.

The most blessed part about enjoying the NOW? This right here.

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