Vital right now


Today is January 5, 2014

This January, I have blogged in this space for 3 years. My life has changed so much – I had one baby, a full time job with lots of traveling, and lived in the Washington DC area.  Since then, we had another boy, my husband joined the foreign service, and I stopped working full time (some days I think by choice, some days not.)

My original goal for this blog was to talk about all the things that were vital, as in life sustaining, necessary… well, vital.  As moms we balance so many roles – working, mothering, wife-ing, housekeeping, writing, running, creating, cooking, cleaning, managing finances, traveling…  For me, the list is very long, and I like it that way.  I did not become one dimensional just because I had a child or two.  That said, I firmly believe that while you can have it all, you cannot have it all at once.

I have made the obvious sacrifices.  To fit in as much as possible, I gave up TV years ago.  I don’t get as much sleep as I should, I read less than I’d like, and I multitask whenever it is productive (audio books while ironing, yes.  Paying bills while playing with the kids, no. )

I still want to highlight what I think is most vital to be the best mom, wife, and woman I can be.  In that way, this blog has not changed.  However, what I think is vital has changed significantly.  What is vital is to be fully alive, engaged, and present today.  Vital, in the sense of vitality.  What is vital, in the sense of necessary, is time spent learning, growing, being still, being heard, with friends, alone, and creating.

Creativity fuels us, links us to our deepest selves, and is not optional.  Whether it is creativity in negotiating a solution to a need, creativity in putting dinner on the table, creativity in an art journal, in sewing, in recording our kids’ lives, or our own.  We need to create, we need to see something we made.  Creativity seems to be an vital part of the human experience.  I will continue to highlight opportunities for creativity here, just in case one person could be inspired to find more space for a creative life for themselves.

Because of our foreign service life, another part of my life has become vital – learning about places and people.  (Oh, and spanish.  My nemesis, spanish.)  I will continue to write about the people and places we encounter, and lessons learned along the way.  I hope it will provide some insight for those who follow the same path, or an opportunity to live vicariously for those who don’t.

2014 will be busy – we are in a new city where I’d love to do more exploring, and I plan to get back to many things that were impossible with tiny little guys around – running, sewing, cooking more than mac and cheese.  You know, normal life.  Keep reading, and I’ll keep writing.

Happy 2014 friends.

This is Vital

My blog quietly turned one year old this month. Happy birthday poor neglected little blog.

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be about finding balance. – I work in a challenging environment and like my career. I’m also a mom and love to spend meaningful time with my little guy. I love being creative – cooking, baking, sewing, generally making things for my family and our home. I dream of writing, taking great pictures, traveling. I know I can’t do it all but I want to be sure that the way I chose to spend my time but those things that are most vital first.

If I have learned anything this year, it is that I don’t have it figured out. I am welcoming another little boy to our home, and my time will become even more precious, my choices more important, the stakes higher.

So I’m doing what I know best – start where you are. Ask for help. Trust your instincts.

Where I am:
My husband and my son are the most vital ingredients to this life I’m trying to live.
A new baby needs love, a mom who is present, and not much else.
My work is important to me, but I am surrounded by capable, wonderful colleagues who will happily help despite their own workload.
Doing something creative as frequently as I can, renews my spirit and is the most refreshing me-time.

Ask for help:
When I felt anxious about my impending responsibilities the past few weeks, the world has certainly reached out to bless me – from blog posts that seemed written just for me, to calls from friends who have been there. Here’s some of the blogs and women who helped- even though they don’t even know me:

This Big Sister’s Advice

Parenting – I’m Totally Winging It

Letter to a New Mom

New Baby Anxiety

It’s Not Rocket Science

Raising Up

Now, all that’s left to do, is to trust my instincts that what I do will be the right thing, and to keep doing it.

Thanks for reading this year. I look forward to sharing my journey with you as I learn more about what is vital.

Fighting Procrastination

If you are looking for quick, simple advise that will get you on your way, I may not have the post for you.  I battle procrastination daily (and many most times I lose.)

There is so much going on in everyone’s lives these days, and there is so much I’d like to be and do. (run another half marathon! become a good photographer! write a novel! move to a different country! learn Spanish! grow our own fruit and vegetables! have a decluttered house! digitize all our paperwork!  scrapbook every aspect of my son’s life! have only clothes that fit! be crafty! sew more often! be the best mom ever!)  Wow, are you tired yet?   That’s the point of this blog – between all the many many good things we can do – what best?  What is vital, important, life-giving?

I find that I often procrastinate on the most vital things, because the urgent and mundane daily tasks seem so much easier.  So here’s a list of the most vital things on my mind this April:

  • Start running again – after all, my son is a year old – that’s not exactly an excuse anymore 🙂
  • Declutter my home and office – this month’s target is paperwork – applies nicely to both work and home life.
  • Become a better blogger – blog more frequently, and take more pictures.

What does this have to do with procrastination you ask?  I have procrastinated on ALL of these things.  We all know the causes of procrastination – perfectionism, fear of being judged, unsure of your ability to do it, not knowing where to start.

Here are the basic tricks I’ll use to overcome procrastination:

  1. Write down a plan, with small steps (or “next actions” for the GTD folks)
  2. Make it easy to follow the plan (have the necessary tools on hand, set the stage, schedule small blocks of time)
  3. Ask for help, or inspiration.
  4. Reevaluate my plan weekly, and adjust as necessary.
  5. Give myself some grace for lapses and imperfection.

I will share my plan, strategy, and inspiration for each area with you soon.

Why I Changed My Blog

My old blog, which can currently still be found at, was my first attempt at blogging, and was maintained somewhat intermittently.  (Okay, very intermittently.)

Given how much I love writing and reading all the blogs that inspire me to do more, I have decided to get a bit more serious about blogging, and everyone I spoke to suggested WordPress.  (Blogger fans, please don’t hate me.)

Why now?  Well, I finally have my very own high quality digital SLR camera, and need a place to post pictures.  Quality will hopefully improve as we go – I’m still learning.  Additionally, my babe is now almost ten months (gasp) and I have a better handle on how little time I truly have these days.

I commit to blogging at least three times a week, and hope to blog even more than that eventually.  That’s all for now folks – enjoy!