I should be blogging for Joe Beam.
I should be reviewing some books on my marriage section.
I should be finishing up a class I'm teaching.
I should be finding time to finish my kids' book.
I should be making a little more money than $12.00/week on Ebay.
I should be house cleaning.
I should be cooking.
One could say that, this past month, I've been shoulding all over myself.
It seems that with a personality like mine (I'm Type A... no... reallly, it's true!) that I'm happiest when I'm working toward a goal. Better said, I'm happiest when I'm working toward many goals.
But in working toward so many things, it seems nothing really gets done well.
There's two ways to handle this dilemna:
1. Take more off the to-do list
2. Change it from a to-do list into a want-to list and then bury the shame and regret.
So what if I was late to an appointment today. I didn't do it on purpose.
So what if I have $12.00 in my bank account. I have a husband. He can suck it up for me for a few months while I figure out what the fxx I am doing with my life. I'm worth it.
So what if I have a little OCD. If I can accept that my brain goes to weird places sometimes, then maybe it'll go to some less weird places and in the long run I can relax and work on that book.
So what if I am not winning any home maker awards. Truth be told, my home is nicer than many and I'm pretty darn blessed.
So what if I'm not always put together - I put my soul out there. I am not afraid to be vulnerable. I am not afraid to say that, honestly, I was a lot more carefree before kids because my future - the future without the messy house, lost jobs, doctor appointments and budget concerns - was perfect!
Did you know that I used to be a funnier person?
Did you know that I used to write a hell of a lot more than I do now?
Did you know that I'm desperately trying to hold onto Christ's message that in order to gain a life, I have to lose mine?
That sounds all well and good, but it sure would be nice to lose my life and drink Diet Coke again.
As it stands, I drink no Diet Coke.
I am down two a few cups of coffee a day.
I am not eating gluten or dairy.
I've been off of wine for a week and counting.
Why? Because as Brene Brown says better than I do, I'm tired of being afraid of my emotions. It's okay to be vulnerable and scared and admit "I have no idea what the hell I'm doing NOTHING HAS TURNED OUT THE WAY I EXPECTED" and maybe, just maybe, if I don't run like an addict to obliterate fear, anxiety and shame then I don't have to obliterate pure joy, love and passion either.
There's been a lot going on round these parts. In losing one job, I seem to have gained five new ones. While none of them are going to buy me a spa weekend at La Costa, my soul is singing to me, "Yay, Andrea! You haven't given up doing what you love!"

I love a lot of things, in truth.

I love my husband!
I love my children!
I love to write!
I love to eat!
I love to drink coffee with friends in front of fires with my husband in the next room and my kids darting in and out while I eat and talk about writing!

But notice all the exclamation marks! It's as if everything is equally important and a TOP PRIORITY!

And if everything has the same amount of emphasis placed on it, then in reality, doesn't that mean that none of them are actually going to be given the proper attention they deserve?

And if I run run run like a bull toward every! single! bullet point! then isn't it just a matter of time before I fall flat on my face defeated?

Once again, it's time to refocus my energy.

What matters? What doesn't? What can I live with? What can't I live without?

At the top of my list is spending quality time with my babies. They are already 8 and 6. While the dishes will forever be there, their innocence won't.

A few nights back a moth flew against our finger marked dining room window. It was fluttering its wings in futility against the glass - not unlike something I do when I'm flying toward that elusive prize of self-fulfillment by doing everything at once.

My son hopped up on his chair, and then stepped on the table to get a better look. (Oh yeah, table manners are HUGE in my house.)

"Mommy - I think it's my angel, Griffin! Do you think he's trying to tell me something?"

"I think he's trying to tell you that he loves you, baby."

"Look, though! He's falling!" Stink shrieked.  "What's happening to him?"

"He's just catching his breath before he flies even further into the sky," I told him.

That seemed to satisfy Stink. He smiled and got down from the table, content to work on his frozen blueberries once again.

Perhaps this week I could take a lesson from that moth. Hopefully I, too, will fly toward greater skies. What is the alternative?

I have so much to be grateful for. Thank you, Pip and Stink, for reminding me to work on what really matters first.

I also guest blog for Joe Beam
about faith matters.