Running Out of Gas

This afternoon I got a call from my Fella.  It’s not unusual for him to call that time of day.  Sometimes he’ll call to see if we need him to pick up anything on his way home from work.  But today, that was not his reason.

The gas gauge is broken in his vehicle.  Well, broken is a strong term.  Occasionally it works, only you are hesitant to trust it, because what if it’s not?  So maybe malfunctioning is a better term.  His gas gauge is malfunctioning.

He called because he had “broken down” right after leaving his office.  Less than five minutes up the road.  He thought it might be that he was out of gas, but then again, he wasn’t sure.  He hoped that’s all it was.

Me too.

The funny thing is he’s always so conscientious about filling up regularly because he never knows exactly how much gas he has left.  “The one time I let down my OCD about filling up the tank…..”

We picked him up and did all that needed to happen to get gas back to his vehicle where it was stuck on the side of the road.  He poured in the gas and then tried to start it up.

Perfect.

Thankfully, that was the issue.  He closed his gas cap, and we were all on our way again.  Back to the day to dailies and taking care of business as usual.

Three things occurred to me as I was driving to my next adventure:

*We do this ourselves, don’t we?  We think we know how much “gas” we have left to get us through all we need to do, but sometimes we misjudge or we push the limit, and then we burn out.

*When we do run out of gas, patience and grace are the two things we need the most from those around us.  When those around us run out of gas, that’s the best thing we can give them–patience and grace.  (This observation is in *ahem* retrospect.  I might not have been the best giver of these things today, and I’m sorry for that.)

*It takes help from others to get us going again–we just need to ask.  Whether that comes in the form of a friend who sits and listens, someone who makes sure we rest and take care of ourselves, or someone who has our back and fends off the gas-guzzlers, we need the support and presence of others to get back up and running again.

Tonight I’m thankful for a vehicle that runs.  And for the Fella making his day interruptible, so I could do what I needed to do after the refueling.  I’m glad that an empty gas tank was the worst of our worries today.  That’s not something we can say everyday.

Wishing you all a full tank and the rest to refuel when it’s not.

Love to all.

Automobile_fuel_filler_cap

Photo By CZmarlin — Christopher Ziemnowicz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Fringe Hours

I am laughing as I recall my Joyful friend and I talking so many years ago about the books we had in stacks beside our beds.

“They read like the self-help shelves at the bookstore.”

Yeah.  They did.

You know those books where an author proclaims they can tell you how to become a better person in 5 days or how to lose 25 pounds in a month or how to parent the perfect child……by a week from Saturday, just in time for the family picnic?

Been there, started to read that, rarely finished a single one of them.

Until now.

Fringe Hours

The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You by Jessica N. Turner

I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the launch team for this book.  Which means I got a copy (ooohhhh, a new book–y’all know how much I love books!) of the book in advance back in January.  I was excited to read it and share my thoughts.

So here goes.

First of all, I haven’t been reading it alone.

This has been my reading companion.

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My reading companion–so many thoughts have resonated with me that I’ve been underlining and starring all over the place.

 

I have been underlining and starring all through this book.  (And toss in a few “Yes!” and “Amen”‘s for good measure.)  This is not your ordinary “expert tells all the have nots how to get it”  book.  This is like a conversation with your friend.  She laughs, she confesses, she shares, and she cares.  I don’t know how she does it, but in this book, as I’ve been reading, I had this sense that she really, truly cares about me and how I carve out time for me. To be. Me.

Much like a dear friend would.

She’s also not just sharing her own stories.  Ms. Turner surveyed over 2000 women from all 50 states and over 30 countries around the world.  She asked questions and she took time to hear their stories, many of which are shared in the book.

And that’s why this book won’t leave my shelves.  Because of the message I got as I read page after page about women, like me, who crave some time to express themselves but feel guilty taking away that time from the family.

The message that I am not alone.

As I read story after story, I kept thinking, “Me too.”  “I hear you.”  “Oh my land, I thought I was the only one.”

Have you ever wondered if you were the only one who felt the way you did and then found out you weren’t?  That feeling.  That grace.  This book is full of it.

In one chapter, she remembers reading under the covers with a flashlight as a child–oh the joy of that memory for me!  And when Ms. Turner admits to leaving supper dishes in the sink until the next morning, I laughed with gratitude.  When she talked about her fabric “stash,” I knew we could be sisterfriends for life.  I live that.  (well, okay, with yarn instead of fabric, but still)

Here are just a few of the quotes from the book that resonated with me:

“Just because something is a good thing doesn’t mean it is good for this moment in your life.”  Chapter on Pursuing Balance

relationships currency

“In the end, I just had to let it go and not worry about the state of my home.  She knew I was on a book deadline, and she wasn’t coming to see my house–she was coming to see me.  Relationships are the currency that matters, not the conditions of our homes.”  Chapter on Letting Go of Self-Imposed Pressures     (oh AMEN!)

“Self-care needs to be included in what you should be doing.  It is not a privilege.  It is a necessity…..Choosing yourself is not wrong.”  Chapter on Eliminating Guilt and Comparison

“…..I have learned that while I sometimes regret saying yes, I never regret saying no.”  Chapter on Prioritizing Your Activities

“Yes is so often the expected response that a no can be difficult to both give and receive.  We get emails asking for volunteers, and if the slots don’t fill up fast enough, more emails come pressuring us to respond because not enough people have signed up.   If we still don’t volunteer to help, we’re looked at as ‘uncommitted……’ Women need to be kinder to themselves and one another…..What I am telling you is that if someone says they cannot help, do not judge her.  Instead, ask if you can help her.  Ask if she needs anything.  Or just say, ‘It’s really great that you know your limits and said no. I respect that.’ And mean it.”  Chapter on Prioritizing Your Activities

“Maybe we don’t need so many apps.”  Chapter on Using Your Time Efficiently

“Asking for help can feel very vulnerable. I sometimes feel like if I ask for help, I am not being a good wife.  This is a lie.  Who I am as a wife is not defined by whether I can get all the laundry done.”  Chapter on Embracing Help

“Sometimes we have to let go of self-imposed have-tos and settle for good enough.” Chapter on Overcoming Obstacles

“You can feed your passions by running a hundred miles or sewing a dozen dresses, but if you don’t take time to be still and rest, you will eventually suffer.”  Chapter on Finding Rest

 

Something tells me she might need a nap sometimes too.

We all do really, just as we all need to read this book.  It is empowering and encouraging.  The list of gracious ways to say no presented in Chapter 7 makes it worth the time spent reading it all by itself.  I think one of my favorite “guides” for knowing when to say no to was also in that chapter.  Ms. Turner shared the story of Mandy, who said “she says no to things that will make her yell at her kids.”

That right there.  My new rule of thumb.  We’ll all be better off, really, to be rushing to the car and to the “next” thing on the agenda a little less often I think.

This book is one I will thumb back through a lot.  For the funny stories, for the wisdom, for that list in Chapter 7 when I get asked to do something.  🙂  I want all of the folks I care about to read this book.  And be encouraged.  And to chase their passions.  To find what feeds their souls.

While I can’t send everyone a copy of this book, I am going to share a copy with one of you.  The book is being released today, February 17.  You can enter by sharing a dream that you’d like to pursue or one that you are making happen in the comment thread here or on the post on the I Might Need a Nap Facebook page.  Be sure to like the page and sign up to follow the blog, so you won’t miss anything.  One winner will be randomly selected from all entries.  Entry deadline is 11:59 p.m. EST on February 18.

If you are eager to get your own copy or twelve, you can head over to http://www.fringehours.com or any of the major booksellers to order now.  You can read the first chapter free on the website.  There are other resources also available.

 

Tonight I am thankful for the opportunity to read this book.  I am thankful for the woman who wrote it and for the women who were brave enough to share their stories too.  Most of all, I am thankful for being reminded of the grace we can and should offer each other, encouraging and empowering each of us to be joyful and better at living and sharing the journey with peace-filled hearts.

 

Wishing you all the surprise of finding some Fringe Hours in your week.

Love to all.

It’s Okay to Choose Healthy

pic of note on my mirror

Yesterday when we were at the Fun Center with our friends, in the midst of the “drama,” there was a girl we didn’t know who called our young friend a name.  She then persisted in teasing him a few more times while they were all playing.  It was frustrating for him.  I looked at my oldest and said, “Sounds like that girl has a crush.”

She turned serious and said, “I read somewhere that you shouldn’t tell children that other children who pick on them are doing it because they like them.  It could set them up to think that such behavior is okay, and they can wind up in abusive relationships.”

Well.  Mind. Blown.

This takes me back to when I was in the third grade and LP, the red-headed boy in my class, kept bending my thumb back when the teacher wasn’t looking.  Or asleep.  Ahem.  Mama told me it was probably because he liked me.  Then she, my Daddy, and my other third grade teacher all told me I should kick him in the shin the next time he did it.  (Different times, huh?)  I couldn’t figure out why they were saying “chin” so fancy and just how did they think I was going to get my foot up high enough to kick him there?  So I did what came natural the next time.  I hollered out, “Stop it, LP!”  It woke the teacher up, she rapped her ruler on her desk and then used it on his palm when she figured out what was going on.  Yes, for sure, different times.

I don’t think it was bad parenting that had Mama and Daddy telling me his behavior probably meant he liked me.  I’ve told my oldest the same thing, and there was no mal-intent in it.  However, when she told me that yesterday, it all clicked.

Yes.

When we tell our sons and daughters that someone is being UNKIND, even downright mean to them perhaps because they have a crush, it starts a trail of reasoning.  He keeps pulling my thumb, he likes me, so it is okay.  So when, as teens, they meet someone who pushes them or slaps them or belittles them or worse, they see it through the lens of UNKIND=ATTENTION=AFFECTION.

This terrifies me.

I’m reading Ghost on Black Mountain by Ann Hite right now.  In the story the main character is belittled and threatened by her husband.  She wants to break away from it, but she still loves him so much.  I know she’s a fictional character, but I wonder about the story behind her putting up with the abuse.  I wonder about the stories of so many men and women who stay.  Could it have been something as simple as thinking the negative attention meant someone really cared about them early on?  Accepting any kind of attention as okay?  Or scared of what it would take to get out?

And so I resolved to change my thinking–to change what I am teaching my children.

And what I tell myself.

Under no circumstances is it okay for someone to be mean or abusive to you.  To my children.  To me.  It needs to be shared with someone you trust and then what to do about it needs to be decided from there.  But it should NEVER be tolerated.  And NEVER EVER kept to yourself.

Not the belittling by someone on your ball team.

Not being pushed around by a boyfriend.

Not being yelled at by a friend who wants to play a different game than you.

Not being made fun of about your clothes or your weight or how you look.

Not being manipulated and lied to by a friend, a girlfriend, or a spouse.

Not being given guilt by the wheelbarrow load when you follow your morals, your values, your instincts.

Not a single one of these things says, “I care about you.”  In fact what I hear loud and clear (somewhat in hindsight) is, “I care more about myself.  You and your feelings do not matter to me in the least.  I need for you to be weak for me to feel strong.  For me to feel all right I need for you to feel pain, misery, lost, frustrated, hurt.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this today.  Sometimes people who feel bad about where they are or about decisions they have made lash out at those around them, oftentimes those closest to them, in an effort to lessen their own pain.  I have a friend who is doing this.  And after reading the article my oldest shared with me, I recognized what is going on, and that I have to walk away.  As a wise therapist once said, “It’s okay to choose healthy.”  I have this stuck on my mirror to remind me everyday, because I need reminding.  I think it is time I start really taking this to heart and teaching this to my children.  I see friends of my littles already starting the manipulation routine, and I don’t want to see my children succumb to the guilt, nor do I want them to become the manipulator.

If you are interested in reading the article, you can find it here.  While I do not agree with everything on the list, I do think this point alone is worth reading the article for.  We are all human beings, worthy of being treated with kindness and respect.  I know there are times when someone is unkind and hurts the feelings of others without any intent to do so at all.  It happens.  But it’s still okay to let them know, without confrontation, that it hurt.  Chances are, they will be sorry and things will get better.  But it is NOT OKAY for someone, for anyone,  to deliberately hurt you–physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.  EVER.   It has to stop.  Talk to someone you trust.  Call a Crisis Line.   Do whatever it takes to end that cycle.   No one deserves to be made to feel less than.  Not you or me or anyone.  Ever.

This is one national link if you or someone you know needs to seek helpwww.thehotline.org