Last month, our kitchen suddenly got a little darker.

A bulb had gone out.

I bugged Andrew for a couple days to change it out, but my eyes adjusted to the dimness.

When he finally got the time to take down the light cover, 3 of the 4 bulbs were burned out.

We laughed (probably way more then the situation warranted) at how bright the room was when all the bulbs were replaced.

We hadn't even noticed them going out.

Which suddenly reminded me that I had been getting a little dim too.

It's been four months since I declared my 2011 Mantra.

My public proclamation to try my best to lighten up and to shine brighter.

I think I did pretty well the first month, but I've slowly gone back to being an obsessive mother and this little light of mine has not been shining very bright.

I've tried keeping track of what causes me to go bazerk with the kids and I've learned that I need to get up an hour before them, I need to have a basic plan for our day, and I need to keep the computer off if they are awake.

Gabe has to have naps and Josie has to be played with.

I'm reminding myself every time I feel a snap coming, that their little feelings are very fragile.  And I ask myself if my actions are contributing to their meltdowns.

And wouldn't you know it?  99% of the time, they have.

So I'm working on it.

The other day we went to the park for hours with friends.

I didn't bring my camera and just let myself be present with them.

And it was really relaxing for me.

I loved it.

Don't get me wrong, my camera will still be attached to my hands the majority of the time, but I'm trying to find a balance.

And as far as being a light for other people?

I've decided I need to pick areas to focus on.

Right now I have two major areas I'm working on.

First, I'm working on slowing down.

Finding time to listen instead of cutting people off.  I'm holding my tongue so other people can talk.  And I'm trying to make my words count.

I'm trying to see the struggles around me and remembering to pray for them.  Looking for ways to bless people with gifts or things they need.

But my main area that I'm focused on is being supportive.

My words had gotten pretty critical.

And sadly, they were usually aimed at the people I'm closest too.

Passing judgement when they didn't do things the way I thought they should.  Criticising every move and letting my own transgressions slip.

So I'm working on keeping my opinion to myself and finding thing to be encouraging about.

I'm claiming good things over the lives of the people around me and praying for breakthrough.

I want to be a good friend.

For ages, I've wanted to be a woman who's words carried weight and weren't tossed into the wind.

So that's my SHINE check for the first 4 months.

Here's to hoping that the next quarter of the year is a whole lot brighter.


Vanessa said...

I'm new to your blog. Found it b/c we are newly licensed foster parents and have 2 young children of our own...was looking for a blog that I could reference for ideas and support and after today's post I know your blog is just the one! It is often a daily struggle for me to CHOOSE joy (not just as a result of circumstances or how the day is panning out). So your illuminate mantra resonates w/me big time! So glad I found you!