Jacquelynne Steves

Slowing Down- Just a Bit…

How are things going in your little corner of the world? Thanks so much for your submissions for the blog hop! I got more than I expected- One day next week I am going to sit down with a rather large mug of tea and look at all of them- I can’t wait! (If you have a blog that you’d like to submit for consideration, you can find the details here.)

AND…  The OFFICIAL announcement for this fall’s free Block of the Month will be coming next week! I’m sooooo excited….

Things here have been busy, but a good busy. Lately, I am feeling more intentional. Many days I just have this long to-do list, and in the evening I kind of mentally rate my day based on how much I was able to check off of that list. But I have been realizing lately that checking a lot of things off of my list hasn’t exactly made me more joyful. Don’t get me wrong- it makes me feel very productive, and for someone with a personality like mine (type A, git-er-done!) that is a very big part of feeling good. I like doing things (or, more accurately- I like having done things! ‘Cause in the middle they are oftentimes difficult and inconvenient, but I like looking back at what I have done and made.) However, in recognizing and honoring that part of my personality, I am trying to slow down just a little bit, for a little while anyway.  This week, oldest daughter went back to work as a teacher AND she started attending grad school, and Sunday youngest daughter will be heading back to college… so I am trying to savor the little bits of time that I get to spend with them.

Last week, the girls and I headed off on an all-day shopping trip. Yesterday, youngest daughter and I went into the city (Philadelphia) and had lunch at a little French cafe, browsed in stores that we can’t afford, shopped at our favorite art supply store, and found a fabric museum (yes you heard me- a fabric museum) and watched an interesting film on Japanese indigo dying.

DayInPhilly

And those of you who are subscribers or follow me on Instagram also know that I had a birthday last week… so there were a few days of celebrating…

This week, there will be packing and organizing and another lunch out and shopping for last minute school supplies and haircuts and maybe even manicures/pedicures. There is the part of my brain telling me- you don’t have time for this frivolous stuff- you have deadlines. You have your to-do list. And then there is my heart telling me- you don’t NOT have time to do these things while you can. These are the good old days… So, I feel busy in that I am doing a lot, but it’s fun and relaxing stuff that recharges my batteries and just helps me to enjoy life a little bit more. As I do all of these things, and I hear the nagging in the back of my mind about my to-do list, I will consciously decide to focus on the present, and just let the other stuff go for the moment.

I think that’s why it’s also been very good for me to get a puppy. It forces me to slow down a couple of times a day to play with him, and take him out for walks. My driven personality tries to tell me that that is not productive time, that I could be writing another email or sewing another seam or doing another sketch, but my heart and soul know better. My heart and soul know that slowing down to play and laugh at his antics, and pet his soft fur, are necessary for my well-being. Amazing how much joy 6 1/2 pounds of fur and wiggly tail can bring!

Alfie

So this week, I haven’t done much in the way of blog posts, or newsletters, or social media. I am just trying to be, and not trying so hard to do.

Slowing down is really hard for me! But I am trying. I read this in my devotional this morning:

Spend time with Me for the pure pleasure of being in My company. I can brighten up the dullest of gray days; I can add sparkle to the routines of daily life. You have to repeat so many tasks day after day. This monotony can dull your thinking until your mind slips into neutral. A mind that is unfocused is vulnerable to the world, the flesh and the devil, all of which exert a downward pull on your thoughts. As your thinking processes deteriorate, you become increasingly confused and directionless. The best remedy is to refocus your mind and heart on Me, your constant Companion. Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young

Do you need to refocus? What are you doing today to slow down and savor life, even if just for a few minutes? Is it quiet time, or doing something creative? Going for a walk? Please let me know in the comments…

HaveAJoyFullDay-TeaCup

8 Comments

  • Jennifer
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I just love what you have written here, Jacquelynne! Life can be so busy and there are so many things that just “have” to be done – but you are right that it is so important sometimes to slow down, enjoy the little things in life, and listen to what your heart and God are saying to you…..

    I enjoy going for walks to clear my head – finding a new park to walk in makes it even more enjoyable. And of course there is nothing quite like a “fun” shopping trip (not grocery shopping!!).

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted August 29, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Jennifer- I’m the type of person whose brain goes a million different directions at once. Focus and meaningful relaxation (i.e. not just flopping down in front of a crappy reality tv show) are difficult for me. But it is something I am getting better and more intentional about- it just takes practice (just like everything else, I suppose.)

  • Susan
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    Savor the moments you can with your children. Both my children live out of town now. I was fortunate to be invited to visit my daughter for 2 weeks. The adults wanted to go on vacation for a week and then didn’t want to fee as if they just ask me t sit the boys, Then the second week my daughter had the opportunity to connect with sorority sister out of town. So, in over two weeks, I spent two days with her. Now, I’ve been invited back for 3 weeks while the other grandmother goes to Israel. I enjoy every minute. It’s tiring and I enjoy making memories not only for me but also for those grandsons. We try to craft everyday. It’s difficult to compete with electronics. However, I know I’m reaching values and interaction that they will not get from after media. All (my daughter and son-in-law) played with the sidewalk chalk.

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted August 29, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Susan- It’s great that you get to spend quality time with your grandchildren. I agree that electronics can be a real distraction and time-suck! Good for you for helping your grandchildren find meaningful and creative outlets. They will remember that. I have very fond memories of the time that I spent with my grandparents, they are both gone now and I think of them all the time.

  • Posted August 30, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Jacquelynne!!! I hope it was a lovely day for you, filled with all you love best. It sounds as though you definitely made the best of it :*) Second, I agree – we need to slow down, refocus on Who and what are important, and enjoy our hours and days more. I’m working on that too, even though this year has been more than hectic. Or perhaps BECAUSE this year has been particularly hectic? I had gotten away from my quiet times in the morning, just me and The Lord, and it as really beginning to show in my attitude and behavior, not to mention my internal outlook on life. So it’s back to mornings with Him now, and already I can see a big difference in everything in my life! Praying for you to find that perfect balance in your life as you slow down and refocus :*)

  • Jacquelynne
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree with everything you said, Teresa! And doesn’t it seem that the more we NEED to take quiet time, the LESS we do it?

  • Karen
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Just had to tell you that you do not look old enough to have a daughter in grad school & one in college. I have very fond memories from you area of New Jersey & every time I see your posts I think of those times.

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Karen- thanks for the nice compliment! I guess I am just blessed with good genes, ha ha. Did you grow up in South Jersey? I have lived here most of my life.

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