IMG_0895 - CopyDon’t we seem to lose sight of what’s the most important when we’re too busy?  It’s just one day…. it’s just a few minutes… just, just a moment here or there… and in those few busy minutes we seem to lose track of precious years of the things that mean the most to us, the things that are the most critical to us, and the things that should be defining us. I don’t like myself when I am too busy; I don’t like what too busy and too tired and too stressed does to the person that is supposed to be me. Too busy means that I am not kind or creative or contemplative; I am not giving nor seeking to give. Too busy means I am too caught up in my own concerns to see how I can help someone else’s too busy, too. Too busy means that I am just getting by and not enjoying a single moment of the too busy so why bother with all of those things that make it what it is? What is the point of too busy if it isn’t positive and helpful and most importantly, focused on what is most important?

No matter how busy we are, there are things we cannot afford to skimp on; things we just must not let go of; things that need our attention and our affection and our absolute best self. No matter how busy we are we cannot afford to skimp on these 6 things. We cannot afford to lose sight of the most important; we cannot give up on, let go of, or let fall by the wayside the 6 things that we need the most when we are at our busiest.

Exercise. It helps keep you healthy. It creates mood boosting endorphins that counteract stress. It helps you stay younger, alert, and strong. It doesn’t have to be much, or fancy. Just a walk in the park or the yard or if necessary, at the mall.

Eating well. It keeps you healthier, it keeps bad food from weighing you down, making you sluggish, and tired, and sick, and miserable. It makes your body function the best that it can, and the busier we are the better we need our bodies to work.600817_4103356262744_1911529201_n

Sleep. I need my beauty sleep, and even more so, I need my attitude sleep. I need sleep to stay calm and I need sleep to stay strong and I need sleep to work harder, faster, and be more creative. I need sleep so my body can rest, recoup, and recover from stress and sickness. I need sleep to cope with the busy but somehow sleep is always the first to go when busy sets in.

Family. No one needs you more than your family, no one loves you more than your family, no one is probably more willing to let you get by than your family because no one is quite so forgiving as your family. No matter how busy busy gets, you can’t afford to skimp on cherubic faces and toothy grins and muddy hugs with holes in the knees. Nor can you skip on an aging parent’s wisdom or your crazy brother’s shot in the arm. They need you; they need you to need them; and need them, you do and if not today, you’ll need them tomorrow when the busy is hopefully gone.

God’s Word. More than bread. More than air. More than water. We need the Word of God to feed our souls so our souls can thrive under any pressure. We need God’s Word so we can draw close to God even when He seems far away because of the busy. We need God’s Word for its perspective, its strength, its soothing balm, its faith inducing, miracle inspiring, soul healing, life changing words that come straight from the heart and mouth of God and aimed directly at us.

IMG_0926Prayer. Prayer isn’t just a list of demands for a supernatural genie. Prayer is conversation with the Creator, the Maker, the Holy One, the Savior, our Friend. Prayer is when we unload our burdens, share our cares, solidify our hopes, discover our dreams, and become more like the Savior who gave up everything for us.

Six things. Just six. That you cannot forgo no matter how busy. 6 things that will control the busy. 6 things that will fulfill you like the busy never will. 6 things. I need these 6 things. I need these 6 things no matter how busy. I’m working on the six things and I’m working to get rid of the busy.  If you help me with the 6 things, I’ll help you with your 6 things.

My ‘normal’ state of being is a happy contendedness. How I feel when all is well, life is normal, and I am simply feeling pleasant.  It is where I feel most like myself, with an inner calm and a sense of excitement about what life will bring. It is my happy. It’s usually accompanied by coffee.

Only most people would probably agree, my life is far from normal. My family size is definitely not normal – an almost 20 year marriage and 6 kids (a combination of biological, adopted, and fostered) under the age of 9. My dream  profession, also not normal. My deepest desire and calling is to be a pastor. My lifestyle – not typical – trying to build a miniature farm on a suburban 3 acre lot. My preferred food plan – clean/Paleo with an occasional cupcake – is not for everyone. My love of chickens, and cats, and baby everything. My passion for foster care and special needs. My love of fitness and essential oils. My excessive furniture rearranging. My penchant for dreaming up possiblities. My collection of books, both physical and electronic. And my need for creative expression through music and writing, well, OK, that might be the most normal thing about me. These are all of the things that are a part of who I am, whether they are normal or not. And they are the things that bring me to my happy.image

But sometimes, I simply lose my happy. I’m not talking about clinical depression here. Not grief, not chemical imbalances. Sometimes, I simply cease to be happy. Maybe it’s when I feel stuck and the possiblities for moving forward have been exhausted. Maybe it’s when I’m taking on too much at once, when I allow the mommy guilt to build up and set in. If you have a child, you know all about that mommy/daddy guilt. Maybe it’s the state of my budget (red), or when I feel like I’m not accomplished enough for a person of my age (kind of old), when I’m overtired, or when I think everyone else has it better. There – I said it. Comparison.

Comparison. It kills my joy. It steals my happy. It makes me cease to be me because I’m looking outward, wanting to be someone else. I’m pretty sure that this part is normal because a lovely friend – who happens to share a lot of the things of life that I love -reminded me that research studies have shown that Facebook causes depression. Facebook. A freaking website, where we all – in college dorm style – share our breakfasts, heartbreaks, triumphs, vacation pictures, job changes, children, and dirty laundry. All in the same place. All at the same time. It is a caucaphony of life’s stuff. And then we look to see if each other’s best moments are better than our own. Facebook is fun, but Facebook sometimes steals my happy.

But if facebook steals the happy, did you know that exercise restores it? Somehow, exercise brings out some feel good endorphins, causing us to feel happy. Today, I did Pilates from Daily Burn. And it was tough, not because this intermediate level, 19 minute, core strength workout was so hard, but because I was simultaneously managing 2 toddlers who were climbing, throwing, shouting, hiding, singing, playing, dumping, and crashing all around me while I was trying to get 19 minutes to do something to make myself happy. And in that moment, I didn’t feel very happy. It tested the limits of my inner sanctum, but I did it anyway because I know that even though it was difficult in the moment, over the course of the day that little workout would help me to restore my happy, as well as burn fat, get stronger, and seriously stand up straight like my mother used to say. (Guess what – standing up straight can help you feel more… happy).

Other things that help me restore my happy – sleep! Oh how I need sleep, and I also crave alone time with God (but I am never ever alone), taking pictures of my 31 (yes, 31, you have a problem with 31?) chickens, dreaming about the next step in building my homestead (hoop house, goat house, or just a plain old bird house), rearranging the furniture, playing with my 6 children, and blogging during their nap. At least, I pray-plead daily that they really really take a nap.

So if you’ve lost your happy – (not a depression or grief type of lost your happy), but more of a daily grind got you down kind of lost your happy – consider this. Shut off the phone. Close the computer screen. Grab the kids. Go for a walk. And then move the sofa. It will get you moving forward towards your happy.