Boxes

FullSizeRender (2) A few months ago, I wrote this post.

It was all about direction and discipline, about taking small steps to achieve big goals.  And I'm glad, so glad, I did this.  I'm grateful I took the necessary and so often overlooked time to sit down, set aside to do lists and should lists and have a conversation with myself.

Because sometimes, we just need to sit down with ourselves and ask some good, honest questions.   

"What I am doing right now that is life-giving?  What makes me come alive?"

"What hurts?"

"How am I feeling?  Like really.  Not how I want folks to think I'm feeling.  How am I doing in the thick of it?

When I asked myself questions like these, the steps to take just sort of fell out of my head.  So I wrote them down, I laid my heart out, I gave it my stamp of approval and said, "Alright, enough talk Maeve, go do it.  Go be it."

But don't hold on too tight.

You see, looking back, those steps sort of boxed me in.  And I hate boxes y'all. Not like pretty ones with bows.  I'm talking about the ones we put ourselves and other people in. The ones where we think we have folks all figured out and don't give them a chance to be anything more.

Oh, you work a 9-5?  You must be pretty boring.

Oh, you write and post about happy things all the time?  You must have it all together. Your life must be pretty darn perfect.

You only eat organic?  You must be one of those crunchy, granola types.

We make folks one dimensional.  When really we're layered and multi-faceted, we're emotional and creative.

We work a 9-5 and paint at night.

We fight for the goodness in the dark.

We eat kale and french fries.

So I took these steps to heart, I weaved them into my day.  And looking back, three months later, I can say - I didn't fully accomplish them.  And the funny thing is, I think a few years ago, maybe even a few months ago,  I would have been upset by that.  I would have been so hard on my tender heart.

There you go Maeve, starting something you didn't finish. AGAIN. 

But I don't think goals of the heart ever really have a firm start and end date.  We don't simply arrive.  We evolve and change and mess up and grow - every minute of every day.

Every second we get a choice.  A choice to start fresh, to say we're sorry, to look shame and guilt in the eye and say, "You're not welcome here."

When we let go of being so strict, we make room for growth and purpose and intention.

I made room for actually reading my bible more.  Sure, I wasn't always on track and would run over my two week deadline, but sometimes, you can't fit a book into just two weeks. Sometimes, you need time to praise God AND to wrestle with Him.

To go from, "Why would you ever let that happen Lord?" to "Okay, I see it now, I see your goodness."

You can't put a deadline on that y'all.

Did Matthew and I stick to our date night each week?  No, not always.

But more often than not, I remember the times we needed to be there for people, we needed to reach out and welcome them into our home.  We needed to respond to the needs of our tribe.  We needed to finally invite our neighbors over for a meal.

As for exercise, as for wanting to sweat each day.  That didn't really happen either.

BUT in between the gym time and walks I found a new appreciation and love for yoga.  I found myself not being so scared to go to a class because I struggle to touch my toes.  I found myself saying yes to a lot more poses - even the ones that hurt.

And I listened to myself when I needed sleep, instead of waking up early to sweat.  I listened when all I really wanted and needed was to cook and write.

Don't get me wrong folks, motivation and direction and goals are good.  I believe that with all my heart.

Although, when we forget to listen to our mind, body and spirit - because we're so busy achieving and performing and doing - I think it hurts us.  I think it does more harm than good.

And maybe that's you too?  Maybe you needed to hear: unclench your fists and give in to what you need in this moment, right here and now.

Is it rest?  Do you need more rest?

Is it a home-cooked meal?  Make yourself something really tasty.  And, if you don't know how, find a friend who cooks really well and ask them to teach you.  [It'll bring them joy - trust me]

Itching to be creative?  Get out the paintbrush, the canvas, the camera, the music book, the journal, the thank you cards.  Whatever it is - just do it.  And trust that even on the days you might not feel creative, you are.

No more excuses.

No more - I'll get to that thing I really want to do tomorrow.

No more boxes.

Milk and Honey

Tuesday was like milk and honey. It felt so good and warm and soothing.  It moved really, really slow, and for a moment I thought maybe, just maybe, this day doesn't have a beginning or end.  It might just last forever.

As silly and childish as it sounds,  I prayed it would last forever.  I prayed it could always feel like this.

I love the way milk & honey swirl together in perfect harmony in tea.  I love wrapping both hands around my warm mug, pressing it to my lips, taking a sip, and for a moment, on a cold winter day, when you are sneezing and tired, all seems well with the world.

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Matthew made breakfast and I peered out the kitchen window, sipped my coffee and shouted, " I LOVE snow."

"I think you love snow days, Maeve."

Yeah, that's probably more accurate.

Because it's not necessarily the snow that I love.  It's the way snow covered streets and smoke from chimneys looks and feels.  It's how, unlike other days, it begs you to be still and curl up on the couch with wool socks and a blanket and a really good book.

A day that is totally okay and acceptable to stay in your jammies'.

A day where making and eating breakfast should take up the whole morning because, do you really have anywhere else better to be?

I let Matthew take full reign in the kitchen that morning.  I'll admit, I can be incredibly bossy and controlling in the kitchen.  But this snow day, I let him play chef.  I let him make a mess and try things and experiment.

It was adorable.  And, it was delicious.

We drank way more than coffee than we ever should and moved from the table to the couch, to read the bible.  To actually start our little bible book club, the one I talked about in this post.

Folks, we rarely read our bibles - together.  I say that because it's true and this is an honest place.  But we sat there, reading at our own pace, sitting on opposite sides of the couch and it felt so good and right.  There is power in it.  I've been told this, time and time again, but I can't say I've always truly believed that.

We ventured out of our warm house to the gym and to our favorite little coffee shop in town for hot chocolate.  Because we're firm believers in treating yourself when you do something good.

We ate butternut squash soup and bread and drank a really good stout beer that my Dad brought over - thanks Pops.  We played "People Are Awesome" videos on youtube and reenacted them in our kitchen.

I was wingsuit flying over the ocean.  [If you are completely confused, I was too. It looks a little something like this.]  I think Matthew was pretending to do some extreme sport?  Though, it quickly became a techno dance party instead, involving chair standing and fist pumping.

Just your normal Tuesday night, ya know?

Sometimes, I take life and myself way too seriously and I forget to be silly.  It felt so good to be silly.

I couldn't let go of Tuesday quite yet, it was too good, so I insisted we went out to dinner.

So we did just that.

Off to TGI Fridays we went, a place I've been probably 3 times in my entire life.  And there we sat, on a booth, side by side.  The way it felt when we first started dating.   The way it felt when we wanted to know every little thing about each other // every nook, every cranny, every story.

It's amazing how quickly you can forget to do that - date each other.

When we got back in the car, Matthew said, "I think this has been one of my most favorite days of being married to you."

And I had to agree - with all my heart and soul.  Because it was so ordinary and plain and simple.  It was sweet and warm and slow.

Because lets be real, some days it's hard - really hard.

But when it's hard and busy and I ache for snow days on Tuesday, I'll know just what to do.  Thank goodness I can feel this day - over and over again with my darling, if I need too.   

All it'll take is a cup of tea - with a little milk and honey.