"You can't be stressed out yet," I told Tim this morning after we had a conversation about all of the things on our plate.
But...He is. I am. We are.
Our to-do list is too long: to-research, to-contact, to-decide, to-clean, to-sell, etc.
Fortunately, there is a glimmering hope ahead. An adventure awaits us. You may think that it will be more stressful to live in a tight little RV on the road, but - actually - it's this "in-between" time that burdens us.
Yesterday, I was running around the house (literally) - picking up clutter, vacuuming corners, wiping counters, flushing toilets - in preparation for a possible visit from prospective homebuyers. I kept ordering my 3-year-old to "pick up your toys" and "bring this to the laundry room" and "watch where you're walking."
Later, in the car, I said, "I'm sorry for being grumpy this morning." My 3-year-old answered back matter-of-factly, "Mommies aren't supposed to get mad!" and then she said, "I forgive you."
The whole day after that I kept looking at my girls and thinking about how wildly lucky I am. How did I end up with these two stunning, smart, sincere kids? I don't have the right to be stressed out when my life is THIS GOOD.
Several people have confided in me that our life seems a little too idyllic. They want to know about the stressful times. They ask what I do when the going-gets-tough.
The answer to that question is that we consciously choose to keep things in perspective.
The reason I don't complain often on my blog is because I don't have anything to complain about. My life IS idyllic. I'm married to my best friend. I have the 2 outstanding little girls. We have our health, our minds, our education, and our freedom. We have Christ in our lives.
We're not perfect and all four of us have our moments of selfishness, rudeness, exhaustion, anger, and unruly behavior. In fact, we're unquestionably IMperfect.
We're just real people who acknowledge that...even on really bad days, our life is pretty good.
Have you been stressed lately? What do you do when stress creeps into your heart?
I always go for a bubble bath. Our old house had an old deep tub. The new house has a tiny tub. Sigh...
I appreciate all of your posts. There is no question about your authenticity, your joy, your love for your family and for others. Your girls are brilliant. I often find that my kids teach me how I should respond...not all of the time of course...but we can learn from them. I find that when I am frustrated and at my wits end with them I have to remind myself that they are children. That they are still learning how to express themselves. How to respond. And they look to me for those lessons. If I am constantly responding with a negative tone, being short with them, easily frustrated, they sense that and they in turn respond the same way...ugh. You are right...life and/or circumstances are not always good BUT we ALWAYS have something to be thankful for.
Often times when I am feeling stressed out or overwhelmed I stop myself and pray the ABC's. I go through that alphabet thanking God for His attributes, or for the things He has done. "Thank you God that you are Amazing. Beautiful. Courageous. That you Desire to hear from me. That you have given me Family. That you hold my Heart. That you are Glorious...etc..." When I do this, even if I don't feel like praying or feel that I have much to say...the world turns right again and I gain a new perspective.
I love that you pray through the ABCs. You are truly a gem, Nini!
"Several people have confided in me that our life seems a little too idyllic. They want to know about the stressful times. They ask what I do when the going-gets-tough. The answer to that question is that we consciously choose to keep things in perspective."
I quoted this in my lesson last night to my middle school girls (a lesson on desire and discontent). Thank you for being so inspirational :)
Moving and selling a house is stressful, but I think that you have a great perspective. It is also nice to hear that you are human :-) and life does get to you. When things start to get me down, I also try and remember how good I have it, wonderful children, a husband who is a friend, an excellent dad, whom I am so lucky to have, great family, friends and a job. Just looking at those simple things and remembering I can't control outside forces, I can only control how I react and feel about them is key.
Good luck with the selling of your home, we've had ours on the market for a while and keeping it clean and show ready is just difficult with little ones around.
It's the limbo that always gets me. The in between here and there. Hope y'all get to move through it quickly and with maybe a little less stress.
Anytime I get stressed out, I remind myself to count my blessings because they truly are many. Life isn't always shiny and perfect. Sometimes it's downright difficult, but finding the good in it is the best start to turning it back to beautiful.
People do like to hear that you are real! (i.e. not perfect!) But, I totally agree with you that venting & complaining is not productive. I think, when I complaining or pity myself, I am questioning God.
That is not to say that people will always feel happy, even when they do have the right perspective. We'll still feel the pain, the hardships, the grief.
My husband & I were just talking about this, this week. Knowing grief & sadness & hardship doesn't mean that you can not live with gratitude for the gifts you do have. If we are grateful for what we do have, the hardship becomes a burden that can't be born.
I do have cares & stresses. I take them Jesus. And, I thank Him for the peace & gifts that He gives!
I meant to say -
If we are *not* grateful for what we do have, the hardship becomes a burden that can’t be born.
Ha! I love when a typo totally turns what you are saying into the opposite!
Perspective... where can I get some of that in the positive direction? I think I'm way more of a pessimist than I've ever thought.
Love it! So true... I don't like when my flesh gets the best of me. I have so much to be thankful for! There are too many people who have nothing, too many people who are truly hurting, and I am not one of those people, so why should I be anything but grateful? But I suppose you know that... since you're selling your home so you can go help those who are hurting! :)
Sorry misspelled: everything, toilets ( 3 times!) and positive! I was typing way too fast!!
No problem at all. I do that too sometimes, especially late at night.
isn't it awesome how we find perspective in Christ...i don't know how people do it without him? I was a stress ball before believing!
Looking at water or nature helps me relieve stress...i realize how small me and my problems are when I look at the vastness of the ocean or the magnificence of a forest.
I've found that awareness is curative. When you're aware that you're stressed out is when you can fix whatever it is that's got you stressed out and take whatever steps to best deal with it.
I'm in a non-stress week after several very stressful and busy ones - I just kept looking for the sun on the horizon to get me through!
I find great value in taking a HUGE breath, counting to 10, and praying to God for guidance and patience. My motto is "This too shall pass." I also find as I read about current events, I realize once again that I am so incredibly, wonderfully blessed.
I think when people tell bloggers that they want to read about the "bad stuff," it's actually a compliment to you. I know each family experiences at least some level of stress, and I am interested in how people deal with it, especially people I admire. It can also be a comfort to know that other people are going through the same things as you. If all I read about is how wonderful and perfect a family is, where nothing ever goes wrong in their lives, I feel like there's something wrong with me, like I'm a failure. It's so relieving to be able to say, "You feel that way? So do I. Let's help each other."
Sometimes I think that others in our society don't want us to have any bad feelings, that we don't have the right to feel stressed/sad/whatever when there is so much suffering in the world. I realize my "problems" pale in comparison to starving and genocide in Africa, for example, but that doesn't mean I am not allowed to be frustrated when my toddler is having a temper tantrum. Yes, I shouldn't dwell on it, but it's completely naive to think that I wouldn't feel at least some level of stress.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Sarah (as always).
It's funny. I often feel the *opposite* pressure in our society. I would venture to say that the "norm" is for people to talk about the sad/hard/grumpy part of their lives...rather than celebrating the good and enjoying the fullness of life. ;)
I'm always stressed,and I hate feeling that way. Sure, I have weeks that are less stressful than others but I always seem to produce stress in my life. I always feel the need to take on a project, or a job, or an idea that consumes my energy. I stress that I put time into things that aren't too important in the end. I stress that I didn't spend enough quality time with my kids int eh day. Etc. I have a GREAT life. I wish I could stop stressing and just enjoy it!
Isn't it amazing how much power our choices have? Attitudes are key.
And it's nice to know your family isn't perfect. I was starting to wonder. :)
OMG have I been stressed lately? You did not want to ask that, or rather, I did not want to find your blog! hahaha. We moved from Chicago to Arizona in JUNE! We have found FOUR snakes, one headless bunny. My van died. Our A/C died. My husband has been traveling non-stop. My youngest hates it here. I cry because I miss my friends. It's hotter than an EFF bomb here. UGUGUGUGUGHHHH!
But the way you described how you are grateful for the things in your life has made me stop and think how good I have it. My husband has a job. My children are healthy. I know things will get better here (at least in November! So thank you. Things will be better eventually (as I sit here and type in my underwear with a fan blowing on me!)
June is a tough time to move to Southern/Central AZ. You'll like it better in January (I think). :)
I LOVE this post! Stephanie, I just posted something about you on my blog, The Funky Monkey! :) I wanted to tell all my readers about how much I adore your family.
Well, over time I have learned to look at things differently. I used to HATE cleaning my bathrooms!! Until a friends told me that at least I had a toliet to clean! She was right, I found out if I had a toliet to clean I was doing better than 3/4 of the world. Now cleaning toliets still isn't my favorite, but at least I have one to clean!
I use this motto for everyting. Even with the medical bills( we have a lot). But at least we have insurance to help and at least we have a job to start payment of the the medical bills.
I think if I didn't think possitive, I would be an angry and mad person. Thank you GOD, that you have opened my eyes to something bigger! Amen.
So in our house we say "don't sweat the small stuff" and "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit" The last one my oldest came up with.:0)
ahhh..yes, the "craziness" of selling a house. I know how you feel when it comes to the "hurry up and clean" mode when a realtor calls:)
Lately, I have been stressed and I have totally let it get the best of me. When I feel like stress is creeping in...I take a deep breath, try to remove myself from what's stressing me out, go for a run/walk, play with my kids...I keep a few options, depending on what is bringing on the stress.
Your new journey is bound to bring some stress. Like you and I talked about, some of the coolest, most incredible journey's start off with the "unknown" which can be stressful. It is such a blessing that you can look through the stress and see the amazing things ahead!
When I get stressed I try to be super nice and quiet with my kids. I know if I dont do that, I will end up being upset with them when in fact I should be getting upset with myself for not being able to handle the stress.
Good luck with your awsome project. If I had such an adventure ahead of me I would be stressing out about
- not be able to deal with the kids in a small square footage of an RV. It is so uch harder for me to handle them in a small apartment as opposed to a big house.
- not have my kitchen with all the widgets
- having to make a choice what things I want to sell and what to leave.
- and hundreds of others
I truly admire you for being able to get all the little things and big things accomplished for this trip
I like that your life is that good. I wish more people had that. Including me. I never understand people who want to read the bad things in people's lives. I'm all for authentic, and if authentic means happy then blog happy!
I can tell that you're totally authentic with your writing, that you aren't making up the happy or only focusing on the happy. You all are truly, at the core, and all over the rest of ya, happy.
And that makes me happy. :--)
What a great perspective!
I have stress as well. Everyone does. I try to categorize my stress - really look at what it is that is stressing me out and make a plan to do something about it, rather than letting it take over my whole life.
I'm thinking about you guys a lot - hoping your plan is going as smoothly as possible!
beautifully put. It really is a very conscious effort to stay positive and keep things in perspective.
Blogging is interesting - many people feel they have to put it all out there for everyone to read. But once you put it out there, it is out there for good. So why spend time sharing an argument or a poor behavior when it has probably been resolved by the time you are writing your post.
Sure, everyone gets stressed, but as you said, you make a conscious effort to keep it in perspective. Blogging requires sharing but I think sharing how you are coping is more helpful than sharing what stinks. Just my two cents.
(Although the bloggers who are posting through tragedy, depression, transitions - their blogs are possibly a place to cope and put it all out there and they are waiting for feedback).
I love this post! I'm very happy with my life too. I look for the good in everything. Like Krista S I try to see those hidden blessings in the difficult times. Perspective changes everything.
Selling a house with tots is very stressful. I have been there. But, it is just a moment in time that will be over with so quickly. One day at a time. I'm praying for you.
I so appreciate your prayers. Today, while in the shower, I prayed: "Dear God, Help our house to sell quickly. Preferably today or tomorrow. At our full asking price (or more)." ;)
This is one of the big reasons I love reading your blog. You are happy with your life! I love reading and being encouraged by your outlook on things. I too find little in my life to stress about, and even when there are truly things to stress about we try and remember all the blessings in our life and keep things in perspective. I am happy in my marriage, my husband is the best, I love my three kids (3 and under!), even though my husband is currently unemployed there are so many hidden blessings to that, life is good! Sometimes I feel like the odd one out among my friends for being so happy with my life (as weird as that sounds...), and your blog gives me encouragement in that area!