Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Let It Be Easy!

Inhale...Exhale...Let it be Easy.  This is your new mantra.  Whatever it is.  This is it.

There are at least a million things bouncing around in my head as I sit to write this.  We got all ready to go shopping and Sabrina, my 17 month old, decided she needed a nap so....I decided to write.  I've been praying for opportunities to write because my brain is exploding with ideas that need to come out but this is hardly what I'd call ideal.  I like to be more prepared.  I want it to be all scheduled, everyday, at such and such a time, so I know what to expect and when my time is coming so I can use it purposefully and all that crap, yada yada yada.  But when's the last time I wrote?  Oh ya, it was October 7th.  I guess all that waiting til the perfect time stuff still isn't working for me!  Ahhh!  So I am seizing the moment!  Ha!

I love Christmas time!  I love the songs, the decorations, the lights, the festivities, the cookies and everything else that's awesome about it!  It can feel truly magical when you're in the spirit!  "In the spirit" means you aren't trying to run anyone over in the parking lot of Target so you can get that spot or because you're in a hurry!  If this is you (or close to it) maybe you're getting a little too caught up in all the hoopla and PRESSURE that the holidays can bring! 

Inhale...Exhale...Let it be Easy...

It would be so great if we could buy everything we wanted for our kids whenever we wanted to and whenever they wanted something!  Or no, wait a minute...what happens when kids get everything they want whenever they want it???  Hmmmm...  If your stress is buying your kids everything in the store, let it be easy!  Don't do it!!!  Kids will tear through everything you put in front of them and look for more.  Try giving them a few special gifts and savor the moments while they open them up.  Focus your attention on the quality instead of the quantity.  By doing this, you will help them to realize the joy of receiving and how nice it is to give and receive.  This helps them learn how to appreciate things and count their blessings, which is a great practice for all of us.

If you don't have kids, you're not left out here!  Giving comes from the heart.  Many of us forget that.  I know I want to buy for everyone I know and care about, but I get overwhelmed by the enormity of the spending.  This is where I have to remind myself.  It's not the amount of money I spend, it is truly more about the thoughtfulness behind the gift.  I have received things such as magnets, ornaments, and notepads with encouraging words on them and I love them!  They've brought me joy for years.  Homemade cards and handwritten notes are also nice things to give and receive!  Think about the person you are giving to and what would bring a smile to their face. 

Inhale...Exhale...Let it be Easy...

Whatever your stress is now, whatever is causing you grief or anxiety, can you allow yourself to let it be easy?  What would happen if it was easier?  How would that look?  What would it feel like?  I've often told myself, it's not easy!  It's hard!  I'm working my butt off!  But then I've realized that some of the stress and anxiety (and some would say all of it!) actually was self-induced.  Why would I make things harder on myself than it really is?  I don't know, but check yourself.  Are you going crazy over something because you think it has to be "just so" but really it's just that you really really like it to be "just so" and it can be just as wonderful and serve it's purpose even if it isn't "just so"?  Maybe it's just me, but sometimes I get caught up in my own rules and regulations.  When I realize I can let it be easy or at least easier, I feel so much more at peace.  And isn't this the season for peace? 

So enjoy your holiday celebrations!  The giving and the sharing, the cooking and the cleaning, the shopping and the wrapping, the buying and the spending, the pageants and the plays, the singing and the laughter, the snow and the palm trees (Yep, I live in Texas now!), the families and the fun!  Create great memories and focus on the good things!

Inhale...Exhale...Let it be Easy...

Thanks for reading!  Do you have anything to add or share?  PLEASE DO!!! 

Thanks to Sabrina for sleeping so I could actually post today!  And thanks to the voice inside my head telling me to JUST DO IT!

Thank God for another day for amazing opportunities to love and give!

Love to you!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thanking God for Unanswered Prayers

Recently, something happened, or I should say, didn't happen, that I fully expected to happen.  I could see it, feel it, had built plans all around it.  I visualized, prayed, meditated, and anything else I thought I could do in effort to make it happen.  I was so sure it was going to happen.  I was so sure!  And then...it didn't.  Now what?

At first, I had to replay all the facts in my mind and well, that just pissed me off.  This should have happened!  But then, I started to widen my perspective and all I could think of was Garth Brooks singing, "Sometimes I thank God, for unanswered prayers..."  OK, OK, I get it, this is another one of those fabulous life lessons!  SUPER!!!  Just what I wanted.

So, like it or not, a lesson is being learned here and what that lesson is, is to be determined and well, kind of up to me.  I started to think about some other "unanswered prayers" that I've been so so grateful that God didn't listen to me!  Whew!  I hate to admit it, but I don't always know what I'm talking about and I've certainly had times that I've been so focused on what's right in front of me instead of opening up to greater possibilities.

A great example was back when I was teaching.  My classroom position was eliminated and I had the choice to go for a reading specialist position in my school, or go to a different school in the district and continue as a classroom teacher.  I really loved the school I taught in and loved all the students and their families.  I really wanted to stay and continue to work with all of those wonderful people.  However, I didn't get the reading specialist position.  So I sadly packed up my classroom and moved to the new school.   A couple days before the first day of school, my new principal approached me.  There was an overload of first graders and they wanted me to teach a first and second grade split class.  I gladly accepted the challenge.  That turned out to be one of the most challenging and rewarding years of teaching that I've had!  I learned so much and really sharpened my skills as an Early Literacy teacher.  Not to mention, my new school had lots of wonderful teachers, students, and families there too!  I felt very lucky to have the opportunity to grow so much as a professional.  A year later, my husband and I decided to pick up and move to Traverse City where I became a Literacy Consultant for Traverse Bay Area ISD.  No one, I tell you, NO ONE, would've been able to convince me that was going to happen!  I believe now it was because a greater plan was already set in motion for me.  I just hadn't caught up to it yet!

So today I sit with this new opportunity, a fresh start in a new direction.  I wonder what's going to happen, but I'm not worried like I would've been back in the day.  My stomach has some flutters, kind of like it does when something amazing and fun is about to happen!  Do I think it's all going to be easy?  No.  But I actually like having to work for it, to keep growing, and reaching, and listening, and learning.  And I like knowing that no matter what happens, if I'm being true to myself, and stay focused on living my dreams, they will all come true, exactly when they're supposed to!  Thank you God for always knowing which prayers to answer and when!

Have you ever been grateful for an unanswered prayer?  I'd love to hear from you!  Please share in the comment section or email me at: kristie.ignash@gmail.com!

Love to you!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Do Less, BE More!

When I had my first daughter, Allison, my world completely changed.  I think most people with children would say the same thing.   I devoted myself to her care which meant many hours in the rocker, nursing her, smiling at her, talking to her, and holding her.  I soaked in every sigh, every yawn, every smile.  My little angel slept in half hour increments and only slept longer when I held her, so even though it was kind of difficult to sit in a chair for two hours at a time, this was how I found peace in my day, even if it meant a sore butt!  Sometimes I had to force myself to let it all go...the dishes, the laundry, the shower (haha!  If you've ever been a new Mom, you know what I'm talking about!), and "just be" with my baby, feeling the love and blessings that I had been bestowed. 

                                                               Allison sleeping in my lap!

We live in a society that craves instant gratification.  We're constantly multi-tasking, sometimes to a fault.  Don't get me wrong, I think the art of multi-tasking is an important and necessary skill.  It's important to know how to prioritize, juggle tasks, and complete things in a timely manner.  However, when you multi-task so much and you can never enjoy the moment you're currently living, you fail to recognize the beauty of life as it is, right now.  Taking the time to sit in a rocker staring at my baby made me realize...this is what it's all about!  Life is too precious to keep living for tomorrow.  I was doing less, but "being" more, and as a result, I felt more fulfilled.

Another way to look at Do less, Be more, is to eliminate the unnecessary aspects of your day and focus more on the greater priorities.  By doing this, you will become better at what you're choosing to do.  I used to make TO DO lists with a hundred million things on them and would feel frustrated and disappointed if I couldn't get everything done.  DUH!!!  Did I really think that I could accomplish all those things in the short amount of time that I had?  Well, yes, as a matter of fact I did, but again, it was very unrealistic and I was coming up short way too much for all the effort I was putting in!  When I do something, I want it to reflect my best and if I'm stretched too thin, there is simply not enough of me to go around to do things very well.  Now I limit my To Do lists to 5 items.  These are the 5 things that are the most important and if I accomplish these things, I am happy.  Do I do more than five things in a day?  Well of course, but I don't treat everything like it's top priority anymore, because it's not.  Another trick is to circle the most difficult, pain in the butt task and tackle it first everyday.  This way it's done and over with early in your day, and you can feel good about your accomplishment.  Make your list at night before you go to bed and you will start your day knowing exactly what your priorities are and what you expect to get done.

So if you've ever felt overwhelmed, stressed, or frustrated and you took some things off your plate by eliminating or delegating them, would that open up some time in your day to "just
be?" Even if it's just 15 minutes, a half hour, an hour... to chill, enjoy the moment, daydream, appreciate life, enjoy your family and friends, laugh...  Try it!  Remember, Do less, Be More!  And make sure you let me know how it goes!!!

Love to you!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Whatcha Waitin For?????

     So here I am, two days before my 38th birthday, finally starting my blog!  This is something I've wanted to do for some time now, and now is the time.  I wanted everything to be just perfect but if I keep waiting for all conditions to be perfect, I'll never get started!  So even though my page isn't perfect yet, and I don't have any pictures, and I will probably write this in 2 minute intervals because one of my daughters is still awake and will no doubt need me for something...this is my life at this point, and rather than try to fight it, which I mistakenly do sometimes, I'm going with it!  I love my life and the more I work with what I've got, the better every day is for me!  So what am I waiting for?  Enter theme song here:  Whatcha waitin for?  (Think Gwen Stefani) 

click here to listen and for lyrics:   http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/gwenstefani/whatyouwaitingfor.html

     About a year and a half ago my husband and I decided to move across the country from Interlochen, in Northern Michigan, to San Antonio, Texas.  We so loved our little town and the big town nearby, the fabulous Traverse City, but we were in need of a change.  Hubby was working three jobs, seven days a week, so I could continue to be a stay at home mom.  Our quality of life was getting...well, let's just say, less than quality, and we were definitely plateauing.  My family had lived in San Antonio for years and we loved the area when we visited, not to mention, the wonderful family time we were able to share.  So a decision was made, just like that in a casual conversation in February.  I remember it well, it started with "I'm so sick of winter..."

    Flash forward a year and a half and here we are in fantastically H.O.T. Texas!   Whew!  I love it here though, hot and all, and I'm slowly soaking in the many blessings and realizing that we've really made a lot of our dreams come true...again!  My dreams up until now have gone something like this:

          1. Become an elementary school teacher.  Check!
          2. Marry the man of my dreams.  Check!
          3. Earn my Master's Degree and further my career in education.  Check!
          4. Have beautiful babies and take time off from my career
              to stay home with them.  Check!
          5. Be happy!  Check!

     So, now what?  What else do I want to do with my life?  What new dreams are waiting to be fulfilled?  We are all creators of our own lives.  Over time I've learned what this statement really means.  We all have choices, every moment, every day.  We get to choose what we think, what we say, what we wear, and our attitude toward things, amongst many other choices that we make all the time.  Each and every one of us has the power to achieve our goals and dreams but first, and this is very important, we have to know what we want!  That seems so logical and obvious but have you asked yourself lately what you want?  My little dream list that I wrote above was one that I made back when I was in elementary school.  No kidding.  But as an adult, I've really had to dig down and think.  What the heck do I want???   

     At first the ideas came slow and then I started making a list that filled a couple of pages.  After that, I had to narrow it down, what do I want right now or in the immediate future AND what am I willing to do to get it?  Aha!  That's when some things get crossed off the list (hahaha!) or at least pushed aside for a later date!  So finally, after two years of being on my list, my newest goal is to run my first half marathon in November.  I just "became" a runner two years ago so I still have a lot to learn, but I know it will be a great challenge for me both mentally and physically.  Sure my baby wakes up at least once, but usually two or three times a night, and I AM NOT a morning person and will probably have to do most of my runs at the butt-crack of dawn but still, what am I waiting for?  My life is now!  It's time to do it Kristie, go get it!!!!!  My training officially begins Monday, August 22nd, so I'll keep you posted on my progress!

     So what are you dreams?  What are your goals?  What do you want to do with your life?  Don't wait for everything to be perfect before you begin!  Whatcha waitin for?  Just DO it!  And remember, you CAN do it!!!

Love to you!