3 Things I Learned, Summer 2017

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman to share what we’ve learned this summer.

In August we celebrated thirty years of marriage with a week at the lake with the kids.

Thirty years is a long time.

That’s a lot of days.  It’s a lot of hours.

I’ll be the first person to admit that clocking 30 years doesn’t necessarily make you an expert. Scads of people who’ve been around the block didn’t learn anything on the trip.

For what it’s worth, here’s what I learned for making it to 30:

Keep re-negotiating your marriage and extend grace.

Having lived the past 30 years with a lot of upheaval and transitions on top of the normal phases of life, I’m more sensitive to the need for constant re-negotiation.

Getting on the same page can be difficult. Melding two personalities to head the same direction takes a lot of negotiation. We’ve made some big changes geographically and culturally in our marriage. With each change, we have to re-negotiate our marriage. It’s not easy.

Also, I don’t think you can make it to 30 years without heaping helpings of grace and forgiveness. There will be hurts and offenses. There has to be grace in equal measure. It might take an act of God.

“I just want my kids to be happy” is not a helpful parenting philosophy

It’s amazingly pervasive, though.

Sometimes what the kids need most will not make them happy.  Take immunizations, for example.  Or eating vegetables.  Or going to bed.

In order to be happy, your kids might just want pizza and french fries. But you know that’s not what’s best for them. What’s best for them is eating vegetables. And they might not like it at first, but they will develop a taste for it.

The same is true for many things, including doing dishes and doing laundry.

Our kids are independent, responsible young adults. And they’ve adopted the values that matter most to us. Our friendships with them bring us joy.

Tweaking my morning routines has made a huge difference for me.

Keeping up with paper clutter is one of the huge struggles of my life and just dealing with the mail at home every day was overwhelming. The bottom line is that it’s not that hard to handle.

But, the critical element for me was realizing that I couldn’t handle it in the evening. I was processing the mail in 3 minutes every morning while my eggs were cooking. That went well except for the mornings when my husband made breakfast or I didn’t eat eggs. A few slips and I fell off the bandwagon.

I was able to re-start with two minor tweaks. I process the mail for 2 minutes every morning while I heat my water for a hot drink (lemon, hot water and stevia to help deal with Hashimoto’s).

This is working.

There’s something about micro-habits that makes them easier. Knowing that it’s only two minutes helps. In the morning, I haven’t succombed to decision fatigue and the process is possible (even easy) instead of overwhelming.

It’s amazing to me that such little changes can make such a huge difference. It’s fun to figure out what works.



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