Monday, August 5, 2013

Choices, Choices

Have you ever been stuck in a phase of life where it was difficult to find happiness?

I remember living in NYC, how cramped, loud, smelly and exhausting every day was. Strangely, it was also one of the best times of my life. Having just given birth to #3, I learned how to homeschool my 6 yr old--while on double diaper duty with a 1 yr old. Every day was a struggle, start to finish. I could have been VERY miserable there, but a couple things happened.

1. I started seriously into my writing career. I met a wonderful agent who was kind enough to look over my most recent book and encouraged my growth and development. That gave me hope.

2. I really had the chance to focus on my family, and just my family. Spending that much time with my littles, I finally fell in love with being a mommy. (Yeah, it took 6 years--some of us learn faster than others.)

It didn't have to be the crucible of NYC that taught me these things, but the adverse circumstances helped.

I remember a time a couple years ago as I stood, hands submerged in soapy water while I cleaned dishes--without a dishwasher--and grumbled about the never ending chore. Suddenly it struck me. There will always be dishes. I can't change that. What I could change was my attitude, and from that moment on I tried to think of the family I was serving every time a job got especially arduous. I'd think about the clean/safe environment I was creating for them, and how it would add to the overall peace and happiness of our household.

My mom who is away on a service mission said it best: "Love what you are doing - and if you aren't doing that, it is time to refocus."

Happy Monday, friends. How's your focus today?


36 comments:

  1. Your mom and her daughter sound brilliant

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    1. Well, I can attest that one of those two statements is true. ;)

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  2. Having such a great example as a parent sure helps, doesn't it? What a great lesson to learn. I am still working on that. Though I suspect it may be a life long trial to keep that mindset right while especially entrenched in difficulty. Thanks for helping us refocus our thoughts this lovely Monday morning!

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    1. It definitely is a lifelong lesson--one of those we have to constantly recall. --And yeah, awesome parents sure make a difference.

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  3. I'm trying to "live on purpose" - really thinking about what I'm doing at any given time and why I'm doing it. Thanks for a great post! :)

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    1. I like that: "live on purpose." Great phrase, Madeline. I'm going to have to keep that one on hand.

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  4. Such a good thing to keep in mind--that we may not have control of our circumstances, but we can control how we think about them. I keep trying!

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    1. That's all you can really do, right? One day at a time.

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  5. That's absolutely right. Though, I admit that it's hard to like cleaning the litter box. It's funny though, I got started in writing again while absolutely snowed under with work and young child, so I get that.

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  6. Well said, Crystal. Life is way too short to worry about dishes. Worry about the important things, like having fun with your kids while they're still home, and raising a loving family.

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    1. Exactly. Better yet, don't worry--just enjoy, eh?

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  7. Such a great idea to change our attitude. I need to do that too when I get down about all the chores that take so much of my time.

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    1. The key is to remember, right? I need a cork board next to my sink where I can pin reminders.

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  8. I remember that moment when I realized there would always be more dishes. I'm not sure I reacted the same as you. I think I muttered something about never ending drudgery. :P But you've got the right attitude. How we react to things can make all the difference.

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    1. So true. Our reactions make up who we become.

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  9. Ah, yes, there will always be dishes, just like there's always laundry. We do have to make our peace with it.

    I've loved being a mom. Now that my kids are getting that much closer to leaving the house, I so appreciate the precious gift I've had to raise them.

    How wonderful you met an agent early on who was supportive.

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    1. Most of them are. Nix that. I haven't met a one yet who wasn't. It's unfortunate we can't have an unlimited supply of time in this life, or I think agents would take on many many more learners.

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  10. It is so true that our perception can make or break a situation.
    Attitude is everything.

    Great post.

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    1. I live to be the nagging voice at the back of your mind, er, blogroll. ;)

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  12. You and your mom have a great attitude. :)

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  13. Your mom sounds like a very wise lady! I agree about attitude being key. For me, it's not always possible to change my mood, but I do try to adjust my viewpoint when possible. (Like, if I'm ever feeling grumbly about my art, I just remind myself now that it was the best I could do at the time, and the fact that I at least tried will allow me to improve in the future...)

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  14. Hi Crystal. What an uplifting post. I like to focus on the good things. I recently moved into a new unit, which is Heritage listed. No dishwasher. First time for umpteen years. I decided to enjoy the manual process, trying to connect to times past when such luxuries were unheard of. I enjoy that soapy, dopey experience now! (Nowhere to fit a dishwasher, so I'd better enjoy!) :)

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    1. LOL. The kids love to clean then that way. It always boils down to time for me.

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  15. Thanks, Crystal. I just know I needed to read this post. I'm stuck in a bit of a rut at the moment, working way too many hours and not having much time to dedicate to writing/etc. I'm going to let your words have their way with me today and see whether I come back with a new focus, too.
    Have a great week! *waves*

    -Jimmy

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    1. So glad they helped, James. It's easy to get snowed under, eh? Chin up--and you have a great week too!

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  16. Adverse circumstances are necessary to remind us of our many blessings.
    (I just hope that the 6,000 odd words are not affecting you adversely... or it may be a blessing in disguise?LOL)
    The fact of the matter is that there are some things that are here to stay (like dishes), but other things that we are in control of (attitude)!
    Love the cheesy picture!

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    1. All for you, michelle. ;) Just as in all things, we have to take it one dish (1000 words) at a time, eh?

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  17. You mum really gave u a lovely advice :)

    We all make choices, sometimes we don't like them. But, our choices are the ones that defines us.
    Each choice lead us somewhere.. good or bad. Well that's for us to decide :D

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    1. So true--it all comes down to what we do with our circumstances.

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Hit me with your cheese!