Do you know how many articles, blogs, books, videos, sermons exist on the internet just by searching the words, “balancing life?” I don’t know the number, but the list seems endless. I’m sure it seems that way because a lot of people feel like their lives are not in balance. I won’t claim to have mastered any kind of balance in my life. I believe it is one of the constant tensions in life that will always exist. (By the way, I believe tension is necessary in life, and it’s not always a bad thing.) We can pour massive amounts of time and energy into organizing our lives in a disciplined manner, and there comes along an event that can upend that balance.
Instead of getting hung up on the concept of what “balance” looks like, simplify it by prioritizing the people that are most important to you. I say “people” because people should be at the top of your list. It should be the people that you LOVE who should be at the top of your list. If I LOVE God, then He should be the top priority of my time and attention. If I LOVE my wife, then she should get a whole lot of my time and attention. If I LOVE my kids, then they should get a whole lot of my time and attention. If I LOVE my relatives…. If I LOVE my friends…. This list can extend far, but that’s where priorities help.
You should also make time to do the things that you LOVE. Those are the interests that you enjoy doing. That could be a simple as reading books. It can be extensive like collecting rare objects. Pursuing these interests take the edge off the roughness of life and fills the soul tank. However, the things that you love shouldn’t take away the time and attention that belongs to the people you LOVE.
There’s a 4-letter word that gets in the way of the endeavors we love, and that’s W-O-R-K. If you have a job or career that you don’t love, then shift your perspective to encourage yourself. Your work gives you the opportunities to do the things that you love.
One more thought. Be generous with your time and resources to help others. Volunteer at your church or the hospital. Be a coach on your child’s soccer team. You get the idea. Investing your time and resources to help others is not just a noble thing. It makes your soul rich.
Balance can’t be all the aspects of your life weighing the same amount to keep the scales level. Some aspects are more important than others. Some aspects weigh more than others. Some aspects should.
What are those priorities in your life? Chime in! Your comments are welcomed and hope you are enjoying a productive week!
We hang them with hope
To illuminate these nights
Christmas lights the way
How do Christmas lights not bring out the child-like wonder in you? And a smile that reveals someone lost in the memory of Christmases past. Inspiring you to keep traditions passed down from your parents. Motivated to start new traditions. This Christmas, challenge yourself to go beyond yourself and share that light. Be an example for your children. You can volunteer at the local food bank or the children’s hospital. We can have real hope because Jesus, the Light of the world chose to reach out to us.
Teaching your children about friendship may not be easy for many parents. There are many adults who deal with the ups and downs of relationships themselves; let alone helping their own children with their friends.
In my last post, the focus was to show your child how to approach the relationship with the perspective of being a friend. There is no friendship without disagreements and even disappointments. Truth be told- there will be friends that are only for a season. There will be friends that move away. There will be friends who will not be willing to journey through the valleys of the relationship. The ones who hang around can have their “mean” moments, and sticks and stones do break bones and words will hurt the heart as well.
Here is another Jewish Proverb that addresses the power of words and friendship. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” We need to help our children recognize the difference between a malicious comment with intent to harm from a comment that is purposed to move a friendship in a healthy direction.
In this hyper-sensitive culture we live in today that defines a different opinion as offensive, we need to make it clear to our children that contrary opinion or correction (even from a peer) can bring life to a heart or situation. The “wounds” of a friend do hurt. However, if the wound-er is sincere in the attempt to help then isn’t he or she a being a true friend?
Even the youngest of children can bring health to a relationship and even correct their peers when it’s modeled to them. We all have boundaries to guard our hearts and people, including friends, will cross them all of the time. What if a friend crosses the line all the time? That sets up the topic for next time. Any thoughts about boundaries? Your comments are appreciated.
She entered her apartment full of doubts. Doubts about herself. Doubts about everything. Her mind replayed the rejection and unkind words from those who roamed in her hostile world. Disappointment wore heavy on her like a straight jacket. Yet this downward spiral would end before it would rule the rest of the day. Her eyes gazed on the single object on the table. A long unloading exhale and a hopeful smile expressed her renewed hope even if it would be for just a few moments. He left her flowers in a cup.
Simple gestures can go a long way. Think about the ones you love in your house. Sometimes we don’t know what they are struggling with. Spouse had that rough day at work, kids have friendship issues at school. A kind gesture like a note or small gift and even flowers in a cup reminds that person that someone cares. It’s not a “random act of kindness” as the bumper sticker says. It is thoughtful, deliberate, and personal.
Anyone with ideas or suggestions on the simple gestures we can do for our family?
Most of the best memories from childhood we ones that we shared with family and friends. Don’t you agree? It is important to facilitate and share moments with your children.
Here’s some thoughts:
- Don’t waste the time doing selfies of yourself sharing your moment. Get into the moment instead of telling all your FaceBook friends about the moment. You can post that stuff later.
- If you are doing something that doesn’t work out, don’t lose heart. That picnic bbq lunch you burned or the gingerbread house that fell apart usually provides great memories and laughs afterwards.
- Lots of great moments happen throughout the normal daily routine. You still need to plan activities.
- Don’t let a small budget discourage you. I Google searched “free family activities” and found this article titled, “Free Family Fun” http://www.parents.com/fun/activities/free-family-fun/
- Quantity leads to quality. Planning and facilitating times your family can do an activity together will lead to good times.
- Photograph, video, or collect something from the activity. For example, if you’re at a park, pick up a leaf.
Go beyond documenting the event. Create a photo album. If not physically, at least digitally. Make a scrapbook. It has to be accessible for the family to look at. Give your family the opportunities to be able to reflect and connect to your family history. I keep a 12-old video camera under the tv. About once or twice a year we connect the camera to the tv to watch at least an hour of old footage. The kids couldn’t believe all the crazy noises they made as babies. My wife and I couldn’t believe how much younger we looked.
Spending time together takes not only some planning but commitment as well. Family activities have a lot of benefits as you already know. Those times also give your children the space to know you not only as a parent but as a person as well. Those times also give you to the space to know your child as a person too.
Got thoughts? Insight? Tips? Questions? Comment below.
Thank you for teaching me how to fish.
Thank you for teaching me how to tie a necktie.
Thank you for yelling from the stands to keep swinging the bat even though I struck out 2 times during the game.
Thank you for correcting me when I was out of line with mom.
Thank you for walking with me to the playground the day after I got pushed down by the bully at school.
Thank you for letting me take a sip of your beer even when you knew I would spit it out.
Thank you for sword fighting with me even after you said that you were tired from work.
Thank you for teaching me how to shoot a BB gun.
Thank you for showing me how to use a sling shot.
Thank you for singing the song to every tv show theme even if you didn’t know the words.
Thank you for holding on to me on my first roller coaster ride.
Thank you for celebrating with me the first time I ever beat you in basketball.
Thank you for teaching me how to swing a hammer and change a tire. (Not at the same time.)
Thank you for helping me make my first secret clubhouse with chairs and a bedsheet.
Thank you for picking me up at the theater after I missed the last bus.
Thank you for helping me with my science project.
Thank you for picking me up from the principal’s office after I got in a fight and the first question you asked me was, “Did you win?”
Thank you for not being afraid to cry when I graduated.
Thank you for never giving up on me.
Thanks for being there for me like you said you would.
Happy Father’s Day to the men who chose to be dads. What can you add to this list of thanksgiving? This was the “from a son’s” version. If you are a daughter, what could you add to this list?
Being a sage isn’t just about age
But it is coming of age
It comes from learning from mistakes
And refusing a life half-baked
The wise know that it is not limited to self but others
And to treat people like brothers
In the end it’s not about things to fill the holes
Instead, valuing the connections with other souls.
Thanks for reading my latest poem. Wisdom is more of a heart issue than it is about knowledge. It is willing to make the decisions that many people don’t have the guts to make. Wisdom requires courage. Experience means little if you choose to make the same mistakes. There is a Jewish Proverbs that says that wisdom is worth more than rubies, and I believe it. Are you growing in wisdom as you get older? How much is it worth to you? Respond in the comments below and tap on the SUBSCRIBE button.
The guests were long gone
So they returned one more time
And danced until dawn
Thanks for reading my latest haiku. A word to my younger friends getting or wanting to get married. The emotion of love can take you to the wedding, but it is the act of love that will keep you married. You both have to actually do the “I do” part. That involves a determination and commitment to selflessly give every day whether you “feel” in love or not. If the relationship is one-sided now don’t expect it to change… ever.
A word to the young,
Yours can be fooled
Usually when you’re foolish
Wreckless and never ruled.
A word to those who are gray,
Before you lay to rest
Stop pining for yesterdays
And make today your best.
A word for the lonely,
Don’t be offended by my tone
Sharing your journey is a choice
So is staying alone.
A word to the lost,
Open your eyes
And commit to find your way
Instead of living on lies.
A word to those who are filled,
Help us sift the truth from the tales
Warn us about chasing after empty dreams
And remind us that love never fails.
I enjoyed watching my wife bring her floral designs to The Big Fake Wedding this past week. I asked the wedding party to pose with the bouquets and boutonnieres, and after I saw this picture I got to thinking about what happens after the bliss. Let’s face it. Marriage bliss is not 24/7 except for the rare few who reside in some fairy tale. (And even in a fairy tale there is an evil queen/mother-in-law messing things up for the couple.) For some, it is not even 24 minutes out of the 7 days of the week.
Those habits and quirks that were once “cute” become irritations. Gravity mixed with eating over time become bliss killers too. So what is a person to do when the bliss has become more like piss?
Some of us have issues that go way beyond what a blog post can fix, but at least try this one thing to get on the road to a healthier relationship. Take the “i” out of “bliss” and replace it with “e” to make the word “bless.”
Be good to each other. Do good to each other. When you were dating or engaged, I suspect that you went the extra mile for each other. You probably did more kind gestures. You were probably more generous with your time and money. You were very likely more patient and forgiving than you are now. There was never a reason to stop being that way you once were before. I am not saying anything new. If you want your relationship to change then the first thing to change is you.
Give it a try. Give it time. Let me know. Ok, time for comments. Chime in and be heard.