Personal Stuff

A Life Cleanse

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lifecleanse

With the New Year upon us I wanted to share a life-changing experience I had this year I have been calling my life cleanse.  Sort of like a dietary cleanse, but for your life. And you can eat! Bonus!

Many times the New Year is filled with all sorts of aspirations, goals and packed with things we want to do more of. But there are some years where it is okay, in fact it is downright liberating, to make it a goal to do less. You heard it here first mamas.

My life cleanse 

My life cleanse was not voluntary or planned, but happened as a result of my mom’s cancer diagnosis in August. When my mom was first diagnosed, I didn’t know how I was going to make it through. Our family is so close. So close. I went into survival mode because I wanted to be there for every step of this journey with her. To do this, I knew instinctively I had to clear out every obligation in my life to make the time to deal with what was ahead of us, and at that point I had no idea.

Without even truly thinking about it, I cancelled every single obligation off of my calendar with the exception of the basic things I needed to do to take care of my own family and carry on “life as normal” for my girls while also allowing me the time to be able to help my parents. Everything.

I turned down three newly signed blog contracts, emailed our PTA and told them I couldn’t do my position I had just signed up for, let the classroom volunteer list pass by me at Back-to-School night without signing up, and canceled every upcoming event, meeting, and work appointment not absolutely necessary.

After I did this, I had the time when my girls were at school to do the calls, research and attend the appointments I needed to get her on the best path of treatment. The time I got to spend with my parents and sister going to all the appointments and coming together to figure this out as a family is something I am so incredibly grateful for.

The Re-Entry: Breathe. Then Listen 

Once she was in treatment, we were on a path to getting her well, and the initial flurry of research and appointments and opinions and 2nd opinions was over. The tornado that had blown into our lives had passed through, of course leaving wreckage in its wake, but once she was in treatment, the dust somewhat settled.

breathe

With my calendar cleared out, for the first time in I can’t remember how long, I found myself, having time to slow down and breathe.

Then I listened.

When you stop for awhile from the everyday frazzle fest, you give yourself the chance to listen to your life in a new way.  Mamas, our lives are talking to us – we just have to take the time to listen!

I paid attention to the things I was really missing  as a result of my life cleanse, and had new clarity of the things in my life that are truly important to me.

I started adding things one by one back into my calendar, but with a deliberateness I never had before.  If I was going to add something back in, it was something I really wanted, not a “pile it on because I am already too overwhelmed to stop and say no”, way.

Feeling frazzled? Give a life cleanse a try. 

As a result of my life cleanse, I realized I was holding myself captive by a million obligations that had accumulated over the years.  And there were so many things I could cut out to free up the space to breathe. It’s okay to slow down. It’s healthy to slow down.

If you are feeling at the end of your rope, give it a try, even for a week or two. Cancel everything not deemed essential and give yourself permission to do less for a period of time and listen to how you feel. It might just be life-changing for you too.

A little bit of lemonade.

Our family was delivered a big ol’ truck full of lemons this year.  But even in the most heinous of situations, there is always, always something positive that can make a little lemonade.

My life cleanse was a little bit of lemonade. I took my life of running 100mph down to 30 and it feels SO GOOD.  In fact, my New Years resolution this year is to stay at 30 and really, consciously take the time to continue listening.

Happy New Years! May 2016 be full of less for you and your families!

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What Are You RSVP’ing to This Month?

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holiday perspective

Can you name 2 – 3 Christmas gifts you received five years ago? Or even one?

I can’t. In fact I can’t even remember anything I got LAST Christmas.

At church last weekend our pastor had anyone who could remember Christmas gifts of 2010 raise their hands.  Only 2 people out of huge congregation said they could. The majority couldn’t recall one gift.

But looking back, I can tell you the people we were with that year, the traditions we carried out, and memories of things we did together.

Bottom line?

People trump presents. 

It is so easy to get caught up in the buy, buy, buy craze.

But what really matters are the people you spend time with this month.

RSVP to People, Not Parties

Our church urged us this month to think carefully when RSVP’ing to things.  To think about the events, the people, and the connections that are meaningful to us.  RSVP “yes!” to those people.  Carve out the time for soul-fillers. 

December is a ridiculous month of social obligations, right? I give you permission to RSVP to that party you are not super excited to attend.

Book a date with your bestie, hubby or kids instead.

Happy holidays my friends.  Thank you for reading my blog.  Thank you for being soul-fillers to me!

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Enough.

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Everytown for Gun Safety

Truly enough is enough. The gun violence in America has got to stop.

Join the Everytown for Gun Safety Movement to add your voice to this cause. The louder and bigger the movement gets, the more attention it will get.

Did you know there have been 161 school shootings in America since 2013? 161. Click here for a map and details. It’s time to get common sense gun laws in place in America.

Please join me in this movement if you too are concerned about safety from gun violence in this country and please share this with your friends.

Everytown for Gun Safety – Join the Movement to End Gun Violence

http://act.everytown.org/sign/Join-This-Fight

Everytown’s plea: 

“So if you’re angry, if you’re fed up, if you agree there’s more we can do, then join this movement using the form on this page

The bigger and louder this movement gets, the greater our power — power to break the gun lobby’s stranglehold on our nation’s laws, power to throw out politicians who fail to lead, and power to set a new course for this country.”

Our hearts, thoughts and prayers grieve with San Bernardino. It’s time for change.

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What Will Your Kid’s Friends Remember About You?

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Mtvmoon

My mom was diagnosed in August with pancreatic cancer.  You can read about it here and here.

In times like this, having a support system and people rallying around you is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. In the spirit of having another place for people to share their support, my sister and I started a Facebook page for my mom to share inspiration and updates.

Yesterday one of my sister’s childhood friends wrote a comment to my mom that hit me. It said,

“Praying for you Julie. I have the fondest memories of you letting us watch MTV at your house.”

I love this memory of my mom. First, because it brought back my own memories of MTV when it first came out. I will never forget the rocket ship and intrigue surrounding that channel – a revolution in the making.

I am sure many parents in the 80’s were concerned about what they were exposing their kids to. Was MTV in the 80s what Elvis’ hip moves were to the previous generation?

I wonder if my mom letting her watch MTV at our house was magical because she wasn’t allowed to or if the memories were just connected to being at our home during that time in life.

It doesn’t really matter, but what struck me is the fact that our role as moms will be connected to other kids’ memories down the road.  Isn’t that powerful?

What will I be known for many years down the road?  What will my children’ friends remember about coming to our house? I don’t have a clear answer to that – but it sure made me think about it.

Does answer come to your mind? How will your kid’s friends remember you when they are all grown up?

I would love to hear your comments!

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What’s Going On Over Here

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whats going on

For those that might have missed it, I shared here about my mom’s recent pancreatic cancer diagnosis, which turned our worlds upside down.

The day before yesterday I joined a group of my mom’s best girlfriends for a belated birthday / pre-starting chemo luncheon for her.  This circle of women have known each other since childhood and are still the best of friends.  They care so deeply about each other and their families. They even follow my blog (bless them!)

One of her friends said to me at lunch, “Jen, I think I have to resubscribe to your blog because I am not getting your posts?”

To which I had to tell her, “That’s because there haven’t been any!”

HELLO. I realized I hadn’t written a post about why or what was going on over at Tiny Oranges. Here is that post.

When mom my got sick things what was important in my life came very clearly into focus. Namely, God +  family +  friendship + human connections.  

Since August 18th, I have devoted, willingly and gratefully, most of my “free” time away from kids to my mom and dad and her path to healing.

These days when my kids are in school I am care taking, researching, going to doctors appointments, connecting with others that have faced or are facing pancreatic cancer to learn from their journeys, fundraising for pancreatic cancer through Team Julie, morale boosting, praying and connecting with people. For being such a horrible situation, it has also been really enlightening, the way it prioritized things for me.

One of the pancreatic survivors we have met told my mom,You will be in awe of the blessings you’ll experience in this most unwanted journey.”  

I think that sentence sums it up just perfectly.  I wish it wasn’t under these circumstances, but sometimes unwanted journeys do also bring some of life’s biggest blessings.

blessings

Tiny Oranges is NOT going anywhere – it just has to take a back seat for a little while.

I am so blessed to have a work scenario which affords me the opportunity to step away for a period of time and be able to return. I will always return. Tiny Oranges is a part of me.  But for now, I need to focus on my family, and if time allows and I can fit in posts here and there, I will do so.

Please don’t leave me – I am still here – please sign up for the emails so when I do post you know when I am writing again.

In the meantime, thank you for your support and understanding.

Also, if you are free 11/14/15 to come join us in Irvine to support Team Julie and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at the PurpleStride event, I would be so humbled and grateful. Click here to join our team (top right) or click here to make a donation to my page.

I love you all – hang tight – until next time!  And please send up some prayers for my mom Julie!

xo

Jen

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