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I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother.  Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing.  Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.

Surviving the Valley Series

Surviving the Valley Series
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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Putting 2 and 2 together

My word for the year: JOY. I want to find joy in all areas of life, to make each day, hour, and minute count, to live in the moment. Truthfully, though, I'm not good at that. At all. I am either reflecting over the past (writing about it) or planning for tomorrow (stressing over details). But what about today? Right now? The present moment?

This is a real challenge for me.

My motto for the year: LESS IS MORE. I've been trying to put this into practice in all areas, pulling back and finding some margin. As a mom, a teacher, a writer, a traveler, etc. I even skipped my beloved writer's group this month in order to have one night with all of my family at home this week. Plus I'd prefer to save my energy for the retreat in Houston rather than wear myself down with too many activities and end up sick.

I'm trying to focus more of my attention on the task at hand. One. Thing. At. A. Time.

While talking to a colleague this week about the changes in kids these days due to their constant stimulation, I started putting two and two together.

I struggle to find the joy in life so often because I'm too overstimulated. How do I expect to truly enjoy the present moment or the task at hand when I'm so busy doing twenty other things at the same time? We call it multi-tasking, but all we're really doing is giving twenty things a smaller percentage of our focus, and then we're not fully engaged in any of them.

I looked around my living room the other night to see the TV on while one son had his headphones plugged into the IPAD so he could watch music videos and the other son sat glued to his cellphone texting three or four friends at once and also playing a game. My husband read e-mails on his phone while I sat reading new Facebook posts on mine. Later David and I decided to play a card game, but not without constantly checking each of our phones for new messages or status updates.

No wonder life seemed so much more fulfilling when we had less gadgets to occupy us, less e-mails that needed to be checked, less social media begging for our attention. Between Facebook, Twitter (for school), multiple e-mail accounts (work and home), Instagram (to follow my boys), and any kind of self-marketing I'm supposed to be doing through social media as an author, I often feel like I'm drowning in it all.

I struggle to fully engage in anything these days. It's not even about slowing down, taking on less responsibility, leaving empty space on the calendar, or finding time to be still. It's not about finding breathing room.

It's a need to fully engage in whatever I'm doing at the moment. Talking to a friend. Writing a story or a blog post. Watching a movie. Playing cards with David. Watching Juan David's soccer game. Going out for breakfast with Mike. Eating lunch with a coworker. Teaching a new lesson to my four-year-olds. Reading a book.

My new challenge to myself is to focus on doing one thing at a time. I bet I might end up finding that joy I seem to be missing when I follow my own advice, seeking a less is more lifestyle.

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