Sunday, January 22, 2017


The house is as clean as it's ever been. Our bags are packed (an impressive amount of bags for a mere three day stay). The couches, blankets, throw pillows, and yard have all been cleaned. The clothes have all been washed. I've been given or bought most every supply I can think of. All we're waiting on now is a baby girl who seems to be quite content where she is.

The due date is this Friday, but I don't feel frantic that she hasn't come yet. Though I must say, it is something interesting to live with the knowledge that I could go into labor at literally any second. It doesn't seem real to me. It must seem real to my husband, who adamantly refused to let us go to dinner at that rooftop restaurant in Vicksburg this weekend as he deemed it too far from the hospital. Obviously, we went to Cracker Barrel in Pearl instead. An excellent second choice.

If she doesn't come on her own before then we'll induce next Monday. Sometime later this week I may compose a poem on the topic called Whitney and Lily, Together Forever-Literally. I don't know when it happened, but sometime between about 36 weeks and today it's become extremely apparent that I am housing a full grown baby. She's stronger than I would've thought even a two or three month old could be, so I feel better knowing that this little joker isn't as fragile as I imagined her to be.

I'm not complaining about her taking awhile. I think I always knew she'd take her time and besides, it's been nice to have the chance to feel as prepared as we can reasonably be. I know this time of relaxing will be over soon, so while I can still think clearly these are some things I want to remember about the last ten months. Some are highs, some are lows, and some represent me demonstrating a high level of drama and craziness.

-Finding out I was pregnant the morning we left for our big vacation to Charleston and Savannah. We worked and planned for that trip for so long and nothing could have made it feel more like a celebration.
-The weekend we told both sets of our parents our news and no people on earth could have been happier or crazier.
-The times Will became a crier at the ultrasounds.

-The gender reveal party we threw for our families. It ended up being the most special day and I'm so glad we went to the trouble to do it.
-The way my ribs and mid back burned like a ring of fire every moment of my second trimester as if something were trying to kill me from the inside. I am sincerely thankful every day to not hurt like that anymore.
-The time I failed my glucose test while my husband was in England and I fell into an unchartered depth of despair and drama.

-The time a couple of days after this when I got a full out stomach virus and if a person could've died of misery I'd be a goner.
-The time I reached to turn out the lamp and my enlarged self fell right out of the bed.
-Another time when I was getting gas I wasn't able to open my car door all the way because of a pole. I leapt from the car with too much enthusiasm and found myself in a true predicament, with my enlarged self stuck firmly between the door and the door frame for all the world to see.

-The support and kind words from friends. So many people have checked on us and encouraged us. It means more to me than I can say.
-The support and excitement from family, especially our parents. They've been such a big help to us in so many ways.
-The time I didn't sleep for about four months. This would be an example of a low.
-The time I got the idea to create a book of "special pictures" for our parents for Christmas, knowing full well I can't work the internet. It took days, I yelled at Will,  and I cried three times before it was done. Another low. But that book is done and it is cute.
-The way my body has rallied and somehow I'm suddenly able to sleep 14 hours a night for the past week and a half.

-The way people have said the kindest things about my appearance. But what I want the world to know is this-a tube of $30 concealer will work wonders for you. The brand is NARS. Buy this, you won't regret it for one second of your life. Blush helps too.

-Will still being nice to me when I don't deserve it. And helping me stand from sitting positions/rolling me out of bed/getting me treats.

Every day for months Will and I have talked about little Lily and wondered what she'll be like. I've prayed so many prayers for her--that she'll come to know who Jesus is when she's young, that she'll be wise and discerning, that she'll be the kind of person who stands up for people who can't stand for themselves. That she'll have the kind of friends I've been so lucky to have my whole life, that she'll be a leader, that she'll never deal with anxiety. That she will be full of joy, personality, and will laugh easily. 

But mostly I pray that she will become whoever God wants her to be, and that Will and I will just be there to guide her and love her the best we can. And also that she won't pull bows out of her hair. Please Lord, let her leave her bows alone. 

See you soon girlfriend! 


Friday, October 7, 2016

Listening and Learning

It's been a bit quiet here on my blog lately, probably because it's been a bit quiet in my life lately. Since I was 12 weeks pregnant I've had some sort of terrible rib and back pain that's kept me from doing a lot of the things that I typically do. I'm also not teaching this semester for the first time in a few years, and this combination of hurting ribs/back and no classes has left me with a lot of time for counseling and thinking.

It's an interesting thing to be a counselor of children and teenagers and to have a first baby on the way yourself. I love counseling kids and working with their parents, but before it seemed like we had two distinct roles--you are a parent and I am a counselor. Now it feels like I'm somewhere in between. I honestly feel like I must've worked with some of the nicest parents in the world over the past couple of years and it's such an honor to me that they chose me to help with their kids. I've always tried to show my clients, particularly the parents, the respect of learning from them and trying to keep the important lessons they learn in my heart for when the time comes that I need them myself. I find myself doing this now more than ever.

It's interesting to sit in Bible study with moms and just be quiet and listen. They talk about a lot of things that clients' parents have talked with me about over the years, but somehow I hear it all in a new way. It's definitely the quietest I've ever been in a Bible study and I think I like it like that for now. It's good to be quiet and listen sometimes.

People, all the people in my life, have just been so nice and happy for me and Will. It's been the absolute best time. But sometimes people say things that can be overwhelming. Sleep now BECAUSE YOU'LL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN!!! You think you're hurting now JUST WAIT IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE!!! You're not going to have any money EVER AGAIN!!! You'll never have time to speak to your husband EVER AGAIN!!! What cheerful news, I think! Thank you!

And so many questions. Where will she sleep when she comes home from the hospital? What will she eat? What will she wear? What is your birth plan? How the heck am I supposed to know the personal preferences of this little lady who I have never met? But I do know I'd better figure it out because apparently if I put her in the wrong sleeping vessel it will ruin completely everything and no one in the whole house will sleep until she's six.

In all truth, I really don't know the first thing about being a mom yet and I'm ok with that. But it seems to me, that like most everything else, there is an awful lot of noise surrounding motherhood. So so so many books and blogs and opinions. And so much of it is really good, really useful information. But I can truly say that never in my life have I been so glad to know the Lord. I am so thankful that I've got some practice at listening for His voice, and I'm getting better at picking it out from the rest of the noise.  I'm so thankful that I've tried to walk with Him for a while now, and that I have some experience with Him guiding me through things that were foreign to me. He's done it before--certainly He will again.

I find a lot of rest in the fact that the outcome of little girl's life doesn't depend on her sleeping arrangement, whether or not I make her food or buy it, what I register for, or her infant fashion. I pray so many things for her, but it doesn't even depend on me praying perfectly perfect prayers. What a great relief to know a God who loves her more than I ever could, and who has a special life planned out just for her. And I really don't know if I'd be feeling such peace about this if I wasn't having to do so much sitting still. So maybe my breaking back hasn't been all bad.

The past few months have been one of the happiest and most perplexing times of my life. Will and I couldn't be a bit more happy or thankful, and our families and friends have been so wonderful. I think I'll always remember it as one of my favorite times, ever.

I've been doing some work on taking more pictures lately (or having other people take them) and here are a few.

We found out I was pregnant the morning we left for our big trip to Charleston and Savannah in May. The timing couldn't have been better and the whole trip felt like a celebration. I'm really glad we took that trip when we did, because please see above where I've learned we're destined to be poor forever and always. After registering, I've determined there may be a lot of truth to this. Also, perhaps I should've had a moment of silence over fitting into those small shorts on this day, because oh how times have changed. 

Our friends Casey and Chesney were so nice to take some special pictures for us, and I'm so happy to have these. We couldn't leave big brother Charlie out, even though he found it hard to look normal. 

We had a little gender reveal party for just our parents and siblings and it was one of my favorite days of life. Will and I already knew it was a girl, because if you know me at all you know that sort of information isn't something I'm trying to find out for the first time on a public platform. And I'm not sorry for holding Charlie as though he's our first child in these pictures. 

In moving forward with my new attempt at picture taking I've already scheduled some Christmas card pictures for the end of November. Who can even know what I'll be looking like at that point? I guess I'll have to live in suspense. 

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Teens and Social Media

I recently wrote an article about teens and social media use for Hometown Magazine. Hometown is a really neat magazine that has a publication specific to the Clinton, Brandon, Madison, Brookhaven, and Rankin County areas. I laughed at myself when I was writing it, because I sound so very serious. But in all honesty, it is a serious topic. I don't have a pre-teen or teenager of my own yet, but I can't begin to count the number of clients that I've seen who've had problems with social media use. It's absolutely one of the most common issues that I see. The name of this article is teens and social media, but really it's a good idea for us to all check in with ourselves from time to time and make sure we're using social media in a way that's healthy and positive. 

I doubt you will be able to read the picture of this article very well, so here it is!

Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter—there are too many social media sites out there to count, and the number is continuously growing. Teens make up a large percentage of social media users, with many young people first receiving a phone at ages as young as 10 or 11 and with many kids receiving a tablet or laptop at an even younger age. When used appropriately, social media can be positive—a low pressure way to encourage peers, a great way to keep up with distant friends and family, and a fun way to share good news. However, as a counselor I have seen social media use become a negative thing for teens far too often— sending and receiving inappropriate pictures, viewing inappropriate content, taking part in dangerous conversations, cyber bullying, and phone addiction are just a few of the issues that I see daily.

Considering this information, it may be easy for a parent to think, “Well, they just cant have a phone EVER,” but that isnt realistic or necessary. Social media use doesnt have to be a big, scary issue—it’s just one of many areas where your teen needs some guidance. Im so encouraged by all the teens I know who do use social media in a way thats healthy and age appropriate, and by following a few guidelines, parents can make sure theyre steering their kids in the right direction:

Communicate clear expectations. This includes setting some ground rules. In the same way that you wouldnt let your young teen make his or her own rules regarding who they spend time with, when they do their homework, or what time they go to bed, its important that you also provide clear rules regarding social media use. Some of these rules might include not allowing certain apps until a particular age, designating certain times as phone times, not allowing your child to take their phone to bed with them at night, and having an absolute zero tolerance policy for any sort of inappropriateness or unkindness towards others. By clearly establishing these expectations when your child is young and sticking to them, you communicate a high standard of accepted behavior.

Remember, in the same way that youre in charge of your home, youre in charge of your teens phone and computer.  This means that in the same way your teen receives consequences for breaking rules in real life, they receive consequences for breaking rules when online. Determine what these consequences will be and stick to them.

Be involved. In the same way that you are involved in your teens real life activities and friendships, be involved in their social media activities. Theres little that alarms me more than hearing a parent say, “Well, I dont know what shes doing on that phone. I just know shes on it constantly.” You certainly dont have to track his or her every move, but have an idea of what your teen enjoys doing while on their phone or computer. Know what apps they have, how they work, and follow your child on each form of social media. Know who theyre talking to and what sites they like to spend time on.

You dont have to do these things like a spy waiting for your child to mess up. Be interested and involved in all your teens friendships, activities, and interests. Be excited about the things that make them excited. Engage them in fun conversations. Assume good from them until you learn otherwise. This way, it feels only natural for you to show interest in their online activities as well, instead of like youre trying to catch them doing something wrong.

Privacy is a privilege, not a right. I am all for giving teens an age appropriate amount of privacy and independence, but a phone is not a diary or journal. Its a device that will allow your teen to be in touch with literally any other person in the world at any time of the day or night, and if youre going to give a 13-year-old that sort of access, its wise to check in on them from time to time. Establish early on that you have the right to look at their phone occasionally, and do so as you feel is needed. Know the passwords to their email and social media accounts. Listen to your instincts—if you feel like somethings wrong, theres a good chance youre right. Check a young teens online activity occasionally to make sure theyre not headed towards a potentially inappropriate situation. As your teen gets older and consistently demonstrates responsible online behavior, you can back off on checking in on them as frequently.

Set a good example. Ultimately, your example speaks more loudly than any rules you set ever will. If youre checking your Instagram every fifteen minutes, using Facebook as a means to engage in conflict with others regarding your many opinions, or constantly comparing your life to pictures that you see others post, youre setting an example that your child will certainly feel free to follow. Make sure that youre using social media in a positive, uplifting way. Make sure that youre uplifting others in general instead of letting your teen hear you gossip or treat others unkindly.

Ultimately, these guidelines really arent about setting and enforcing strict rules. Theyre about guiding your teen toward becoming a person of character—someone who treats others with kindness, respects boundaries, and represents his or her self with integrity, whether online or in the real world. Social media isnt bad in itself, and you wont ever be able to protect your teen from all the bad in the world or control everything they do. However, you can do your best to point them towards positive experiences that help them become people of character. Go out of your way to encourage experiences that help build your teen up—such as positive friendships, school activities, involvement in a church youth group, or any good activity that helps keep them from spending all their free time staring at their phone.  Always strive to create a warm, open relationship with them so that they know youll be there for them, even if they do make a mistake.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Just a Little Dust in My Lungs

If you know me well, then you know Will and I have spent a lot of time fixing up our house over the past year and a half. We’ve had many adventures, many messes, and even a few holes in the wall along the way. It’s been so much work and at times I thought it would never come together, but it has ultimately been so rewarding to take a house that seemed kind of lifeless at first and turn it into a home for a family. I feel like the process has taught me a lot about hope, but that is a sentimental tale for another time.

Let me be very clear about this- when I say “fixing up our house” we are not talking about major DIY construction here. I think the true DIY life might be the end of me. We have to pay cash money to have walls knocked out and floors installed and such. But it seems that the more we experience we gain the braver we get. There is a certain freedom that comes with purchasing a house built in 1983. You start asking yourself things like, “Can I really make these baby food colored, textured walls look any worse?” You might really think about it and answer yourself, “No. No, I cannot make this situation one bit worse.” Which might bring you to a place and time such as this:

Our bathrooms are BY FAR the part of the house that still need the most work. We are planning to pay a professional type person to help us with fixing up the hall bathroom sometime this spring, but we decided to do a little mini-makeover ourselves on our master bathroom to tide us over until we can get some real work done (I’m being very generous with the word “master”, as prior to the makeover there wasn’t anything particularly masterful about that room).

The walls in that bathroom are CRAZY. I think someone started trying to sand the texture off, but gave up and just left it on the big wall. The other three walls don’t look great, but the first step was getting the texture off that last wall. So this happened:

Only one human could physically fit in the bathroom to do this, and that person had to do a lot of standing on rickety surfaces, so the smaller of the two people in our house got nominated for the job. Will helped me get it all set up and the sanding didn’t take very long at all, though I did have to run out of the room for air for my livelihood on multiple occasions. I also may have coughed and sneezed baby food colored dust for a couple of days, but I consider that a small price to pay for beauty.

Next we painted, then Will hung a million things on the wall using a drill device and level device. The result was this:

Since I proceed with the caution of an elderly person or a person living in 2004 when using social media (A practice that more people might want to consider? Hmm…), I was hesitant to post this picture on Facebook and Instagram. But I got the nicest compliments when I did and even more compliments in real life.

And the more compliments I got, the funnier the whole thing seemed to me. Because apparently people think that picture looks really great, but here is the thing—I tricked you by only taking a picture of the part that looks really good. Not that I’m not happy with how it turned out, because I love it, but you can’t see that the walls still don’t look great, that the cabinet door won’t shut, the strange empty space underneath one side of the vanity, the floor, the TAN bathtub, and a number of other problems that will one day need professional attention. Not that this picture is a lie, because that part really does look great and the whole thing looks a million times better. But you just can’t see the whole story.

And as often as I talk with my clients and students about how “comparison is a game we will always lose” and such, something about this situation made it really hit home with me. Because how often do I look at a picture of a beautiful house, a lovely early morning devotion scene, or a healthy meal and think, even just a little, about how I don’t measure up? Or maybe I don’t look at a literal picture, but notice a tiny piece of someone else’s life and I starting wondering, “Just what the heck am I doing with myself?” It’s easy to forget that we aren’t seeing the whole picture. We might trick ourselves into thinking that the tiny piece of the picture is the whole thing.

I don’t share this to cause you to wonder whether a person is misrepresenting his or herself on social media. I can’t possibly know a person’s motives, and that really isn’t the point here at all. Besides, it’s fun to share things that we like or that make us happy. Instead, I wonder what if we didn’t think so much about what we see from others at all? What if we didn’t stop to compare our houses, our spiritual lives, our fitness, or ourselves in general? What if we just thought “Oh, that’s pretty” or “Oh, how fun” or “That’s really great for them” and went on about our own business after that without thinking about all the ways we don’t measure up? After all, there are probably some pretty pictures in each of our own lives too.

And it only took me getting a little dust in my lungs to figure all this out.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Most Festive Evening

It was a big weekend around here! On Saturday night I spoke to a group of women at Pine Grove Baptist Church in Hickory Flat, MS. It was their annual Christmas dinner and it was a BEAUTIFUL event. Each table was sponsored by a different woman and let me tell you-the ladies in Hickory Flat know how to set a table. The men served the food and they took their job very seriously. I can't begin to say enough about how friendly and kind everyone was. It was altogether the most Christmasy night you can imagine and I was so honored to be a part of such a special evening.

I spoke about about how the holidays can be a stressful time-pressure to create holiday magic, busy schedules, gifts to buy, feeling like we need to be multiple places at once-and how we can enjoy Christmas activities while still keeping our focus on celebrating the hope we have in Christ.

Did you know it is difficult to look normal in pictures in which you are speaking to a large group of people? At least for me it is. Sometimes I see pictures of people speaking and they look very Spiritual and Wise. I will settle for looking relatively normal.

Sometimes people ask things like "How do you do that?" when I finish speaking. And honestly, it's not me at all. When I think about the reality of it, it's as scary to me as it would be to any person. I get very nervous before I go on. But I do my best to depend on God and trust that He will show up, because if I try to do it on my own I'm quite sure I'm doomed. But the amazing thing is that He always does show up-He's never left me alone yet. Somehow I'm able to be totally calm and I know what to say. It's a miracle, really. I can't understand why He would choose to speak through a person like me-but I'm so thankful that He does. And I'm so thankful that He always meets us where He has put us.

"Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should." Ephesians 6:19-20

And the biggest thanks to the two best sidekicks of all time. They made what could have been a nerve wracking day the most fun. And please do ignore the words "Ole Miss" behind us on the wall. Because Oxford is SO cute and fun, but I will #hailstate forever.

I hope your holiday season has gotten off to the very best start!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Beauty for Ashes

Hello friends! If you are visiting from the Rankin Baptist newsletter or the Crossroads Counseling Facebook page, then welcome! I'm Whitney Caves, a Licensed Professional Counselor with Crossroads Christian Marriage and Family Counseling Center. I work with clients facing a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, and low-self esteem. I see clients at our Clinton and Pearl locations, and Crossroads has several other locations throughout the state. For more information about our services, visit our website by clicking here.

The piece of the article that I shared in the Rankin Baptist newsletter was first published on my blog a few months ago. Here is the full article:

January 11, 2011 was a rare snow day in Clinton. My graduate school classes had been cancelled, and I was at my then-fiancĂ©-now-husband Will’s apartment with a couple of other friends watching the college football national championship when my mom called. I didn’t answer the first time, but I was worried that something might be wrong when she called back immediately.

“Whitney. Your dad has had some sort of a spell. You need to come home right now”, she told me in a voice that didn’t belong to her. Absolute panic raced through my mind and body and I had a thousand questions that she couldn’t answer. “It doesn’t look good. You just need to come right now”, she told me. 

All I remember about that moment is that I wasn’t able to coherently speak to my friends to explain what had happened, nor could I coherently think. A moment like this will make you realize what your faith is really made of, and I am forever grateful that my first instinct was to run into Will’s room and fall onto my knees. I tried to pray, and I felt like I was, but later my friends told me that I wasn’t speaking real words but just making sounds. When I look back at that moment, I am certain, absolutely, supernaturally certain, that the Holy Spirit was there, interceding for me when I couldn’t pray real words for myself. 

My friends got me up, and Will drove me two hours south to Forrest General hospital in Hattiesburg. When we got to the hospital, we found out that my dad had suffered a massive heart attack known as the Widow Maker, a type of heart attack that immediately kills 9 out of 10 people. He had been without a pulse when he got to the hospital, without oxygen to his brain for 45 minutes, and shocked over a dozen times before he somewhat stabilized. The doctors at the hospital in my hometown of Picayune had told my mom that he probably wouldn’t survive the ambulance ride to the cardiac unit an hour north in Hattiesburg, but that he definitely wouldn’t make it if they didn’t try.

Fortunately, this story ends in the happiest way possible. After the doctors told us that he likely wouldn’t make it, my dad started making tiny improvements and miraculously woke up a couple of days later. He left the hospital 7 days after arriving, rode his motorcycle for the first time 6 weeks later, and went back to work at the beginning of the summer. He walked me down the aisle at my wedding that September, and I don’t know if there has ever been a bride more thankful to have her dad beside her. Today he is healthier than ever with no lasting damage at all.

My dad looking fine as ever!

 If you happen to be in search of a Christian magazine, I recommend that you head to your nearest ICU waiting room because they are full of them. I remember picking one up, while my dad was still unconscious, and reading “For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 

I’d known this verse for a long time, but it didn’t really become personal to me until the months following that night. For several different reasons those months were HARD, probably the hardest of my life so far. Despite being so happy and thankful that my dad was ok, life suddenly seemed unpredictable, out of my control, and terrifying.  If something this terrible could happen, what else could happen? What if it didn’t turn out so well the next time something bad happened? For months I suffered from crippling anxiety plus guilt for feeling the anxiety. Nothing seemed to be going right and it was hard for me to find “the good” in my situation.

What good things did I eventually find?  Most significantly, my relationship with God took a very real turn that night. It didn’t happen quickly, but I can look back and see that it was the turning point. The anxiety I experienced finally resulted in me turning to scripture in a way that I never had before, and this strengthened my sometimes shaky faith in a way that nothing else ever had.  Second, spending time in counseling helped me to be able to connect to the desperation that some of my clients feel the first time they meet with me—I wouldn’t understand that feeling if I hadn’t experienced it myself. Third, I now have a story to share that may encourage someone else.  

Why do I share this story? Because sometimes it seems impossible to find the good right away.  Let me be very clear about this—I am in no way trying to compare my experience to whatever painful things that others go through. My dad made it, but someone out there has a dad who didn’t and that is a pain that I can’t pretend to understand. Someone lost a baby. A marriage. A dream. A job. Maybe you’ve made a big mistake.  Maybe you haven’t lost anything, but maybe you’re just disappointed with life and with God about the things that haven’t worked out the way you hoped. 

But whatever your trouble is, know this—as long as you’re living, God has a good plan and a purpose for your life. God brings purpose from the good things—your talents, experiences, and successes--but He also redeems and brings good from your hard times and mistakes too. It may not be in the way that you expect or hope, but God, in His timing, will bring something good from your deepest pain. We can count on this promise, today and always. 

“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” Isaiah 61:3

After I originally posted this story the Mutual of Omaha organization contacted me and asked me to make a video for their Aha Moment Tour. Click here if you'd like to hear me talk a little about why I love counseling and finding purpose in everyday life. 

Thanks so much for reading!


Thursday, September 3, 2015

It Can Wait!

If you know me well, then you know this—I am the anti-procrastinator. And this is not always a good thing, no indeed, not at all. If something needs to be done, I have to do it right away or else. Or else I’ll get crazy and only be able to think about the thing that needs doing. Every day for years I’ve gotten up and made a To-Do list. I like to make a list for the day and for the week. I like to make different categories of lists (grocery list, book list, house list). Sometimes I’ve even made lists for the month or for a season (I have an actual Summer ’15 list in my planner. I don’t know if I’m proud of this or not. Maybe I should have kept this a secret because now maybe you think I'm a little scary. I'm not!).

Making a To-Do list really is a great idea. It helps us organize our thoughts, put them all down where we can see them, and cross them off as we get them done. I will make lists forever, I’m sure. However, sometimes I have a special knack for making things harder than they have to be. Sometimes I put more on my list than is humanly possible to complete in the amount of time that I’ve given myself, and I spend my day sprinting around in a state of frantic-ness that is completely self-induced.

In the past I’ve had this bad habit of sprinting around, constantly doing things and never resting, but not necessarily doing the things that I most need to do in order to make my life go smoothly. This always results in me having a Quarterly Crash where I pretty much get sick because I’m so exhausted.  I fully recognize that this is terrible for me, and in fact it’s something that I am constantly helping my clients with in counseling. It’s not good for me, I don’t feel like it’s honoring to God, and it’s a pattern that I’m determined to stop as I head into my 30’s.

This Saturday I was especially tired. Not just my body, but my mind and my spirit too. During the school year I teach a couple of college classes. I added a third class to my schedule this semester and after the first two weeks of teaching I was wiped out. And I know I am not alone in being tired out from the beginning of the back to school routine!

Even though I was tired, there were some things that I needed to take care of this weekend. But this time, before I made my To-Do list I decided to make an It Can Wait List. I got out my list paper and made a list of things that I needed to do at some point, but not necessarily right away. Some of these things included:

  • Taking the leftovers from our garage sale to the thrift store. They had been riding around with me for a week. A couple more days wouldn't hurt.
  • Bringing an enormous pile of clothes to the cleaners. They had been riding around with me for like a month. What’s another couple of days?
  • Washing the dog. He would be ok for another couple of days.
  • Cleaning anything.
  • Doing any sort of exercise.

And then I made a list of things that really could not wait. It included:

  • Washing clothes.
  • Getting ready for classes.
  • Laying down and not moving for a little while. Preferably in a dark room. 
  • Watching Step Up on ABC Family.  This most assuredly could not wait. Do you remember this? I think I could do this dance from memory. And then I would not be able to move for a week.

For me, the key to this working is asking myself a couple of questions—What is most important here? What will make me feel the least stressed today/this week/ this month? What do I feel like I need right now? The idea here is not to procrastinate. It's to give ourselves freedom to wait on some things in order to really focus on what's most important for right now. And really to just chill out altogether, because a lot of things really can wait. 

Because I'm so tech savvy, I made this special picture to go along with this idea.

Have a good weekend friends. I hope Step Up comes on ABC Family again so you can watch it too. I'm pretty sure it inspired me on towards success this week. And thank you so much for all your kind birthday wishes!