Report Cards

Yesterday was Report Card Day (drumroll please)…actually a week late because of Snowmageddon 2011. Despite my absolute certainty at jinxing myself, I will go on record as saying my kiddos are doing great in school (ever the proud mama). But report cards actually got me thinking…what kind of grades would I make if I received a progress report?? Oh yes, I went there. And it’s not an easy question. Because if I’m being totally honest, I’m juggling mommyhood, lawyer stuff, and church volunteer work and feeling like I’m doing good but not great. A nice solid B. And I’ve never been happy with just B’s. (And please don’t grade me on my creativity in the kitchen-I’ve really been struggling there and would be lucky just to get a C. Seriously.) And between my fitness goals (like actually, ahem, GOING to the gym) and intellectual goals (read 1 grownup book for every 5 kid books I read), it ain’t easy. I’m not saying anything novel or groundbreaking here, but it’s nice to know I’m not alone in this. So, I’m curious, are you “making the grade”? And if you’re having some success with juggling everything, PLEASE share your tips. Especially if they relate to cleaning and cooking. (And I don’t mean telling me to hire someone!)

In the Bleak Midwinter

Here it is Day 2 of Snowmageddon 2011 (aka lots of snow/ice in SC). And school has been wisely cancelled for tomorrow, too. Our days have been filled with snowball fights, sledding, hot chocolate, fires, movies, games, and snowcream. And now I’m gettin’ a bit antsy. A little cranky. Wondering how many more days of this are to come. In other words, cabin fever is setting in. And we are not crazy enough to go out driving in it because most roads are sheets of ice right now. And yeah, there’s that thing called 4 wheel drive-don’t have that! Did I mention we may get sleet tonight? So our winter exile continues.

I HAD a week chock full of activities, lunches, and closings, darn it! Things to DO. And yet I feel conflicted, too. Why is it that I run myself ragged with a packed schedules and a to-do list longer than my arm? Remember a few years ago when we were freaking out about the idea of avian flu and the concept that we would have to hunker down in our homes for 3 weeks (GASP!) WTH? I can’t even handle 3 DAYS! And what would I be saying if the power went out? Then again, it makes me wonder-would slowing down really be so bad?Maybe that’s exactly what I need…time away from the iPhone and calendar and email. Huddling around candles and telling stories. Snuggled up under blankets to keep warm. OK so I don’t like the concept of no HEAT but I will say the thought of allowing myself to just chill out might also change my outlook.

Sometimes when I blog, a title is hard to come by. In this case, I thought of the title first and couldn’t get it out of my head. Where exactly did the phrase “bleak midwinter” come from anyway? The answer lies in a poem penned by Christina Rossetti in 1872 that was turned into a Christmas carol:

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Puts it all in perspective doesn’t it? Suddenly the midwinter doesn’t seem so bleak.

Snowmageddon 2011

2011 has a nice ring to it

So I’m pretty psyched about 2011. Bring it on, I say. After all, some amazing things have happened to me in odd numbered years, like getting engaged, married, graduating law school and passing the Bar, and the births of both my kids! OK, so maybe that’s just a tad superstitious to think that an odd number to a year has anything to do with the events of the year, but I see a pattern (just sayin’). Not that 2010 was a bad year, mind you. In fact, most of the highlights of  2010 will be carried forward to this year. Still get to stay home with the kids? Check. Working part-time doing closings and keeping active with my law practice? Check. And top it off with my volunteer church staff position teaching kids music? Another check.It would be tempting to start the year off with resolutions but I’m not going that route. Never have, really. Instead, I’ve been a goalsetter kind of girl. So I’ll share my goals for 2011 with you IF you’ll be my accountability partner in my achieving my goals this year! Kinda like my version of Dr. Phil, willing to ask me from time to time “How’s that working for you?”

Getting Organized. OK, first and foremost, getting my house decluttered and purging so much unnecessary stuff is both vital to our health and wellbeing AND my sanity. Fortunately, we have been attacking this with gazelle-like intensity (for all my Dave Ramsey friends, you know what that means) during the Christmas break. Nothing like trying to find a place for all the decorations to make you realize you need a different system! Mostly, it means to simplify and get rid of all the excess stuff. Yeah, if only it were that easy. I keep waiting for the team of people from the show Clean Sweep to show up at my house; guess their GPS was on the fritz or something. Actually, it’s not too bad in the Boswell casa, but especially after a bountiful Christmas, it’s time to follow the mantra “out with the old, in with the new.” And if that means new carpet and furniture, so be it! So goodbye chaos, hello Mr. Clean! Or should I say Mr. Clean-er? Let’s get real: I do still have 2 kids and a dog that sheds like crazy!

Making Time for Mommy. I know for many of you, this is preaching to the choir (can I get an Amen, sister?) But I tend to put myself on the backburner a bit. Need new clothes? Absolutely. But so do my two growing kids. OK, so I am fierce when it comes to my hair but you would be too if gray hair started to appear! In other words, if mama’s happy, everyone’s happy (because the converse is so true)! How will this look in 2011? Mani/pedis and massage, for starters. Not all at once, but spread out through the year. And yes, that may sound self-indulgent but I can rationalize both. Who wants the attorney at their loan closing to have fugly looking hands as they shuffle the papers? Not me. (Could that even by tax-deductible? I wish) And carrying my son to the bathroom every night so her can go potty and not wet the bed is really doing a number on my back! Top it off with a much needed girls’ weekend, which is in the planning stages (NYC- look out) but it will happen. It MUST happen.

Slow the %&$*!& down! Doesn’t it feel like our lives are moving at warp speed? There are days when I say aloud, “Stop the merry go round, I want OFF!” So for me, the key is to carve out quiet time for devotion, for yoga and for reading. I am about halfway through an AMAZING book right now called The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison. It is like eating the most delicious chocolate bar and savoring every moment because you don’t want to finish it. I would love to sit down and devour the rest of the book but am intentionally breaking it into chapters so I can drag it out a bit longer. Anyway, one of the powerful, profound nuggets I have gleaned from reading this book is to just be in the moment and to savor every instant I have with my kids. She writes, “Our photo albums from those days are full of pictures of birthday cakes and holiday celebrations, vacation trips and family adventures, piano recitals and baseball games. But the memories I find myself sifting through the past to find, the ones that I would now give anything to relive, are the ones that no one ever thought to photograph, the ones that came and went as softly as a breeze on a summer afternoon…It has taken a while, but I know it now-the most wonderful gift we had, the gift I’ve finally learned to cherish above all else, was the gift of all those perfectly ordinary days.”

Reaching out to others. I vow to be more aware of what’s going on around me and to help wherever I can. You know, making time to go the extra mile for a friend. Send a get well card or an I’ve missed you note to someone I haven’t seen at church lately. Making food for someone sick or homebound. Helping a friend when a child is sick. Working in the food pantry. Going above and beyond in helping those who I am appointed to represent. In this area, I have always dropped the ball when it things got hectic. Now that I’m making it a priority, I will not let myself push to the backburner. Or at least not with some guilty feelings!

Reaching for the stars. My goal is to pursue my passions of writing, music, and Disney (go figure). These will come into fruition if I continue to blog and eventually move into the realm of freelance writing (did I actually write that down and say it outloud-wow!); build a kids music program at my church; and make the 2012 Disney Moms Panel (yes, I’m still stubbornly going to pursue it!) Howard Thurman once wrote, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that.” Find your fire, as Oprah’s OWN network would say.

Our pastor read a quote that really resonated with me, so much so that I had one of those “he’s talking to me” moments:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.
And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.

A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

So I’m putting all my goals out there. And I’m going to DO (not just try) all of them as best I can. To quote the all-knowing Yoda,”Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” (Can you tell we like Star Wars in my house?) And my wish is that you too will have a year filled with doing rather than mere trying. Audaciously living BIG rather than small. And letting your light shine.

Merry Christmas to all…

So I am finally making it back to the blog after a longer than intended break. Sure, I could say I needed to recover from our Disney trip, get in gear for the kids last few days of school, and come up with a few more excuses. But the thing that really did me in this past week was working-yes, actually doing real estate closings. Don’t get me wrong, I am HAPPY to have the opportunity and the extra money it provides. But it really threw me off this past week-so much so that I didn’t even send out Christmas cards. Eek-the horror! (Actually, it is a big deal to me because I enjoy receiving all the awesome cards you guys send). And yes, I know Christmas is always on the same day but I was dead set on using photos from our Disney trip and well, you guessed it, it took FOREVER to go through the 2500 or so photos we took (yes, that’s NOT a typo). So, in lieu of Christmas cards, this blog post will have to suffice until I get my arse in gear enough to send out Happy New Year cards or Epiphany cards or maybe a “how ya doing it’s March and I’m a slacker” cards! And technically (typical lawyer word), since I’m sending out a virtual “card” on Christmas Day, I made the deadline!

Merry Christmas to you all-I wish I could say something more profound or insightful. But I don’t need to. Nothing says it quite like the birth of our Savior.

“I think of Mary and the virgin birth and I’m amazed by how much God thinks we are worth/That he would send his only son to die/And sometimes Christmas makes me cry/Tears of faithfulness, tears of hope, I cry tears of joy at Christmas because I know there is peace on earth for every heart to find/ And sometimes Christmas makes me cry…” (“Christmas Makes Me Cry” by Mandisa)

Peace and joy to you all-

Sherry

%d bloggers like this: