Monday, June 02, 2008



We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.
-Calvin Coolidge

The last week of school, with all of the activities, projects, and parties; a time-consuming coordinator position with the kids' swim team; a handful of writing assignments, both recurring and new. These are the factors in my currently crazed schedule. Life is good, just full.

We all have times of super-busyness, where hours and days are swallowed whole by our to-do lists. For me, I know this state is temporary, with a calmer schedule on the horizon. In the meantime, here are a few things I'm trying in the face of overwhelm:

*Picking one thing from my various responsibilities to tend to, and staying present with it. In other words, focusing on one task to completion versus a little of this and a little of that. It's satisfying to cross something off the list.

*Maintaining perspective. All is well. I'm grateful for all of the people and projects going on in my life. Instead of "too much work," I can remind myself of the opportunities and blessings that each situation provides.

*Prioritizing. Certain things have due dates, other things can be done less quickly, even though I tend to take everything (too) seriously.

*Taking breaks when I can. Even short ones to stretch after too much computer time make a difference. Letting myself stop to have lunch and do the crossword puzzle (my relaxer) allows me to face my work anew.

*Squeezing in some fun. A half hour meet-up with some friends at the local coffee shop really revives me. It also helps to have some things to look forward to, even a plan to watch a DVD with my husband later in the evening.

*Exercising. This really dissipates stress for me. Particularly outside exercise like a walk or a run. I should also include "clean eating" here, but I tend to turn to snacks and treats when I'm anxious. I know I'd have more energy if I ate right, though!

*Asking for help. Most of what I'm working on is up to me to handle. But even asking my family to give me some extra alone time so that I can get some projects done, counts as support.

There. I've crossed another thing off the list: my blog post!


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Friday, September 21, 2007


Look Up

Have you noticed when people are stressed they tend to look toward the ground? I know I do it. Maybe I’m “odd” this way. But when I feel exhausted by my kids’ moods or trivial-but-annoying problems, I just tend to curl up like knotted ball of yarn. Most people smile where I live--mild climates are conducive to them--especially when people are walking their dogs, golfing, playing soccer, or simply talking to a neighbor.

But the stress balls can be spotted easily: eyes turned down, tight lips, and a fast-paced walk that shouts, “don’t talk to me; in fact, don’t even look at me.”

Sometimes, though, if we force ourselves to uncurl and look to the skies, we can find a little inspiration…it could be the clouds in their infinite number of shapes, birds, tall trees, or the sun rising over the top of a mountain, burning away a light morning fog.

As the weather gets colder, I need to look up. Or I look for something new and different to write about, like a local event.

Every October in Albuquerque we have the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. During this 9-day event, hot air balloons pepper the skies with rainbows of color, waving and smiling people, and the classic sounds of the propane burners. Hundreds of balloons rise to the occasion (pun intended). It’s simply an awesome sight. The only tough part is in trying to rise by 4:30am to beat the mad traffic, find parking, and secure a great cup of hot cocoa, funnel cakes, and a good seat before the Dawn Patrol goes up. They verify that the balloonists have the right conditions before the Mass Ascension.

Anyway, when I need a spark, I write about the things that make me uncurl, open up, and think with a smile.

Every city has something amazing, homey, or unique. What is your town or city known for that makes it different? What events do you look forward to every year? Have you written about these events? Let us know. It might spark a great new idea for a story, or remind you of an event that would be perfect for our current contest prompt.

Write Up!

Smiley Sue

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