The Stressy State of Things & Why Small-Moment Living Just Might Save My Life {+ book winners & another giveaway}

stressy state of things

School started yesterday and I’m “feeling all the feels,” as they say.

My girl started high school, my middle son started middle school, and my baby son {even though he’s 7} walked into elementary school for the first time without big brother as his faithful companion.

True confession. I was so ready for them to go back to school because this summer we all earned PhDs in Togetherness.

And then they did all go back to school and I can’t stop crying about the whole business. I think it’s simply the emotional occasion for all the bottled-up stress and apprehension to come spilling out.

Have a seat and let me catch you up on the state of things:

After a year of trying, not trying, and then trying again to sell our sweet little house, it looks like we’re actually moving.

I’m so afraid to announce things before they happen because we are not famous for our smooth sailing. We are famous for nothing going as planned. But assuming there are no bombs, floods, or other catastrophes, we’re moving from our home of nearly ten years.

It’s a local move and if everything works out, I’ll tell you all about it because it is a story indeed.

September is not known for her carefree days but that’s when the Vischer family is set to pack up one house and settle into another. Amid drop-off and pick-up lines and homework and cheer and football games and jobs, we’re going to move. Try to hide your jealousy.

Moving takes years off my life so I will be 180 in moving years once we finally get settled.

I started a part-time job in April. I begin another one next week. Both are fantastic jobs — family-friendly and meaningful, jobs that use my gifts.

It’s simply a lot of transition in a short amount of time.

So yesterday I tried not to hyperventilate and cuss in front of my kids when I discovered those tiny kitchen moths had set up shop among the stale crackers in my pantry.

When crisis or change comes my way, I can struggle with sleep and stability. My overwrought brain doesn’t know where to find the shut-off valve. While I have sometimes shocked myself as Grace Under Pressure during a season of crisis or even that one time when the toddler threw up on a road trip and we had to hose him and everyone else off in a sketchy West Virginia car wash, I’m also the one hyperventilating over pantry moths.

The timing of so many things is lost on me right now.

But there’s one gift that’s come at just the right time — Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World by Emily P. Freeman.

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Earlier this summer, my name was randomly chosen to be part of her launch team. That means I got to read the book early. Friends, it has been a gift to my anxious heart these summer months.

This is a book about true home.

About doing our work but releasing outcomes.

About settling into our small and ordinary places.

About all the places our soul runs to in search of life, only to leave us dissatisfied.

Most of all, for me, it’s a book about keeping company with Jesus through every anxious moment, every runaway thought, every desire and devastation, every welcome and unwelcome transition.

I love what Emily says about keeping company with Christ instead of keeping pace with the world. Her words are always like a gentle hush for my soul.

As citizens of an invisible kingdom, we refuse to take our living cues from the world that says to build, grow, measure, and rush to keep up. Instead we take our cues from the new hope alive within us, from the life of Christ who has made our hearts his home. We’ll stop trying to keep up with the fast-moving world and, instead, we’ll settle down and keep company with the small moments of our lives…

We don’t know where these moments might lead, what we might grow into, whom we might influence, what impact we might have. That is not our business. Instead our job is to stay right here with our friend Jesus. To know that he is with us and within us, and he’ll stay no matter what.

We’ll find our places to call home. 

We’ll find our right-now work. 

We’ll gather with our Tuesday people. 

We’ll write our hidden prayers in the fog.

We’ll let love lead.

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I always need the message of small-moment living but I especially need it during this season when my world feels like it’s spinning on a wonkier tilt than normal — when there is much to manage, outcomes I can’t control, dicey emotions that show up without notice, a new job and precious people to welcome into my life, deep longings that will tenderly be placed up on a shelf for a time.

Throughout these shifty days, there is the promise of the presence of Christ as I gather up my many things and let him carry the burden.

Emily has the loveliest video you can watch. It’s both an introduction and an invitation. Go watch and you’ll see what I mean. And if you’d rather not wait to get your hands on a copy, I don’t blame you. You can order here.

Order before August 28th and you can get a small group conversation guide for FREE! 

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This weekend I’m looking forward to attending a launch party for Simply Tuesday. I’m taking my extra book so Emily can sign it for you!

That’s right, another giveaway! I’m keeping it simple so just leave a comment here on the blog about anything at all or on the blog’s Facebook page.

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Thanks so much for those who entered last week’s giveaway and to Kindel for letting me team up with her! For those of you who are new to this place and to some of the online places I hang out {like the blog’s Facebook and Twitter pages}, WELCOME. I’m so glad to have you as part of this community.

And now for the winners:

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Congrats you guys! You’ve been notified by e-mail so I can get your addresses.

Don’t want to miss out? Subscribe in the box below and you’ll stay in the loop. You may unsubscribe at any time!

 

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Treat Yourself: Summer Before School Starts Edition

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It’s Saturday and I’m in an end-of-summer stupor. Our kids start school next week and, well, it is time. {Says the mom who’s gone all twitchy by this point.}

Togetherness is just the best, except when it’s worn out its welcome. And then some relational and physical space is in order. {Dear Public School, I love you.}

Our family is presently in a time of transition and decision-making and I am a hundred shades of deep thoughts and big feelings. I’m an anxious mess is what I’m saying. We’ll dish more about all this later.

For now, I leave you with a few weekend reads to ease your summer brain into the next season.


Mirrors by Shannan Martin at {in}courage, in which she shares the “sure community of a cold ham sandwich.”

Teacher Church Lunch

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On Thursday I texted my sister paragraph-long texts about some specific parenting challenges and there’s consolation in the knowing of each other’s kids like they’re your own. Also, I shared supper with another mom and her kids this week and felt the sweet swell of gratitude for community, and a little less alone in life’s challenges and transitions.

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Have you seen this loungey sofa / daybed / guest bed made with a full-size mattress, a $50 IKEA slipcover, and whatever spare pillows and linens you have?

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I am so doing this you guys.

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Don’t Call Kids “Smart” by James Hamblin, The Atlantic

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All three of my kids have wildly different, beautiful brains. For me, this is one of the great joys, challenges, and fascinations of motherhood. We have everything from dyslexia and ADHD to “gifted” all under our one small roof. I’m amazed and disheartened by the ways their intelligence identities become entrenched at such an early age. But I have hope that we can begin talking to our kids in ways that can turn the tide.

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Order Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World between now and August 28th and receive a FREE small group conversation guide. I’ve read Emily’s latest book from cover to cover and I’m keeping it with me as a trusty companion as I wade through the transition of our fall schedule.

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Did you miss my big giveaway I posted on Wednesday? I’ve got 4 copies to hand out and there’s still time. Go check it out.

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Savor this late-summer weekend, sweet friends!

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“For the Love.” A Pep Talk and a Giveaway.

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When I was a kid I often heard my mom refer to Erma Bombeck as her “matron saint of motherhood.” I didn’t know what any of that meant way back then, only that Ms. Bombeck was some sort of role model for my mom.

Recently I was at my parents’ house, perusing their bookshelf, when I came across my mom’s Erma Bombeck collection with titles like, Motherhood, The Second Oldest Profession. Can we all just pause for a moment and have a chuckle? That title is pure gold.

As I thumbed through the pages, I realized why my mom appreciated her so much. In a world before tell-all blogs and confessional tweets, Erma Bombeck was a rare and hilarious voice of grace and consolation, preaching the virtues of realistic standards and the importance of being true to ourselves and honest about life. Readily admitting her failures and foibles, she was particularly astute in her acknowledgments of the real-life chaos behind the veneer of domestic tranquility.

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I realized that every generation of women needs its humorists and truth-tellers. In a culture where getting it together feels like the 11th commandment, what woman doesn’t feel like she’s coming up short?

I’m grateful that we’re perhaps a bit more honest than previous generations. But if we only confess our shortcomings without a dash of hope and perspective, aren’t we stopping short?

Weeks ago I got an e-mail from my friend, Kindel. She made my blog and has all sorts of awesome skills. She asked if I might want to partner with her on a giveaway for this book and sent me the pdf version so that I could read it early and tell you all about it. Because I adore her and she’s the boss of me and I haven’t done a giveaway in ages, I said “sure!”

Well. It’s been a hurricane of chaos around here since then and I forgot to read it until this week. Let’s just say the timing was perfect.

Back to school season is the perfect storm of panic and renewed expectations to be awesome.

One minute I’m all: “Calendars! Organization! Let’s all get straight A’s on every assignment! I’m The World’s Most Intentional Mom!”

And the next minute I’m all: “This is hard. I need a maid. And a nanny. And a Starbucks drip. And a glass of wine. And a nap. And some motivation. ‘Feed yourselves, kids. Your mom has lost the will to live.'”

You too?

Thankfully, Jen Hatmaker wrote a book for us.

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards

Listen to what Jen says about those impossible standards:

We’ve been sold a bills of goods. Back in the day, women didn’t run themselves ragged trying to achieve some impressively developed life in eight different categories. No one constructed fairy-tale childhoods for their spawn, developed an innate set of personal talents, fostered a stimulating and world-changing career, created stunning homes and yardscapes, provided homemade food for every meal {locally sourced, of course}, kept all marriage fires burning, sustained meaningful relationships in various environments, carved out plenty of time for ‘self care,’ served neighbors / church / world, and maintained a fulfilling, active relationship with Jesus our Lord and Savior.

You can’t balance that job description.

Can I get an Amen?

This book is not about more stuff you need to do. There are no lists or steps or try-harder mantras. But be warned. You may find yourself laughing until your bladder betrays you and seeing the circus act known as your life through the lens of gratitude instead of guilt.

By the end, you’ll be inspired to focus on what matters most: loving your people well and authentically.

Mlo & CJ

Loving well doesn’t mean blog-worthy birthday parties or being your kid’s room mom every year. Unless pretty parties and room-momming happen to be your jam and if that’s the case, love on your people with all the festive gusto you’ve got. Jen reminds us that we get to pick and choose what is essential for us and for our families.

We’ll all do life differently. This is cause for celebration, not competition.

Along the way she’ll also guide you through the travails of what happens to your body after the age of 40, the fashion tragedy knows as LAP {Leggings-as-Pants}, speak a word of hope for “spicy” families {not to be confused with “sweet” families}, and so much more.

I know what you might be thinking. “Another book I should read?”

I’ll be honest. I felt the same way. My brain is tired right now.

But this book ended up being totally different than I expected.

Might I suggest keeping it in your minivan and reading a chapter in pick-up line if you just want a good laugh and a dose of perspective while you wait? It’s that kind of read. Or reading a chapter before bed because it’s delightful and I’d rather laugh out loud than go through my to-do list for the next month and break out in a rash from anxiety and be forced to bust out the Benedryl and slather my feet in essential oils. Hypothetically speaking of course.

My point. You don’t need a long “thought runway” to peacefully meditate and prepare your mind for more information. Each chapter stands alone as its own vignette. Consider it a gift for your brain and for your hypothetical anxiety disorder.

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Now for the fun part. Kindel has graciously provided FOUR COPIES to give away.

It’s easy to enter through the Rafflecopter below. You get entries for things like following me on Twitter and liking my blog’s Facebook page. {Oh how I feel so awkward and sweaty about self-promotion.} If you already follow me in those places, I humbly thank you.

But that’s not all. Kindel is giving away four copies too! So scoot on over to her blog right now and enter. Double the chances to win, y’all.

Here’s the giveaway box. {I totally earned jewels in my technology crown for figuring out this one.} On the tweet option, just click on the blue box and it will automatically generate a tweet.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

By all means, let me know if you have any problems.

This giveaway will be open for a week! Come back on August 18th (the day Jen’s book releases) and I will randomly choose four names.


 

Guess what? This isn’t my last giveaway for the month. I’ve got more goodies coming your way.

Subscribe in the box below and you won’t miss a thing. And of course you may unsubscribe any time.

 

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