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In Defense of Social Media

 

 

Okay, yes.  I know social media is an obsession and I know too many of us are fastened to our phones.  I also get that we are presenting an overly stylized version of our lives.  I don’t have to prove to anyone that our technology often outpaces our good sense. How many pictures do we need to see of your kid eating avocado?  But, still…I remain unapologetically happy that millions of people are recording evidence of their existence, and their children and even their coffee.

 

 

I mean, you want to love your beautiful latte and remember how it looked next to your leather journal?  Fantastic. I’m with you.  Actually, I am you!  I remember a day last year, right after Steve went on hospice when I,  feeling broken and beaten, stumbled into my favorite little cafe and ordered a cappuccino.  I actually only ever drink plain, black coffee, but I ordered a cappuccino because I knew my friend, Mekenzie, would make it look lovely and on that one day, it was the only lovely I had.  It’s what I could hold and look at and hope into.  Here’s what I posted on my instagram account that day:

 

 

 

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I captioned it, “Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy this.”  It took its place next to the millions of other pictures of coffee cups that day, but this one is mine.  It represents a breakthrough of hope on a truly hopeless day. It means nothing to anyone else, but it means about a thousand things to me and – honestly – I owe it to a social media-obsessed generation.  They’ve taught me to look at small things with big love. They’ve taught me to preserve moments of life in the face of death.  They’ve taught me to scan for beauty and capture it.  And, yep, they’ve taught me that sometimes it’s okay to wrap sharp edges in gauzy, grace-y filters.

 

 

A couple of weeks ago I went through my instagram account, poring over pictures of Steve and grandboys and trail runs and sandwiches that made my heart sing.  Some were well-liked by those who follow me, others were barely noticed, but you wannna know what?  I don’t regret a single one.  Each photo sang a special song to me of a really brutal and beautiful season.  In fact, my only regret was that I hadn’t taken more – and the reason I didn’t was because I worried that I would annoy people.  I feared showing a piece of my life that seemed unworthy of the bandwidth, but now I understand there is no such thing.  Not for me and not for you.  Our lives are worthy and wonderful. And they may, in fact, annoy other people, but I am here to tell you: I will be a witness to your existence.  I will cheer the big moments in your life like weddings and vacations and I will love the small moments like that baby and that avocado.  I will love that picture of your open Bible, even if you didn’t have time to read it.

 

 

And I can’t linger long over your photos, but I will watch and wave as they go by and wish you a meaningful journey –   on your perfectly filtered family days and on the deeply dark and un-photographed ones.  Because, friend, you matter. You matter much.

 

 

As for me, I am taking a photo every day which I am tagging #ProjectYestoLife.  I have no plan each day for what I will snap, all I know is that it will be something I said (or am saying) yes to.  I will record this year – still brutal, still beautiful, still standing, and I hope you’ll wave as my moments go by, but I won’t be sad if you don’t.  Because this is my Yes and only I can say it and live it.  In the end, I just want to remember that I did.

 

Here’s my question today: how are you recording your life? Words? Photos? Photo albums? Choreographed dance?  I’d love to know!

 

With so much hope and so much Yes,

 

Bo

March 18, 2016 - 8:57 am

Patty - Thank you for this! My kids have been encouraging me to get instagram and I’ve been resisting because I don’t want to be annoying but actually I know I would have fun recording life this way. So that will be my next “yes” as I love recording life through photos. Some days my yes is just getting out of bed (thanks to kids needing to get to school!). Next month is the big one year mark of my hubby’s first day in heaven and most days I still feel stuck floundering in “what now”, getting little accomplished outside of the mundane tasks of every day living. Your words help me gain better perspective of my own feelings and pushing through them in this crazy journey!

March 18, 2016 - 9:04 am

bo - Oh, Patty – PLEASE link me to your instagram account. I want to witness this year of your life!

March 18, 2016 - 9:07 am

ci - I cannot say ‘yes and amen!’ enough to this! Thanks for putting into beautiful words the beauty to be found in the every day-ness of our life. More often than not, we have to search for the beauty and hope, and memories recorded remind us of all that He has given.

March 18, 2016 - 12:08 pm

Angela - Bo-thank you for your honesty, hope, transparency, and good ole fun. After loosing my precious Michael Spencer at the age of 27 (2 years ago tomorrow), my life has taken twists and turns that were unexpected. I too have joined IG; I’m currently working on living in the here and now, enjoying every moment I can, and reaching out to others in hopes of bringing much needed and unspoken healing❤️❤️❤️❤️ Great blog today.
Ps my youngest son loves your blog and has found hope and healing as well:)

March 18, 2016 - 1:03 pm

Patty - Ok…instagram done…it is clearly going to involve a learning curve and I can’t figure out how to link to you! My daughter is trying to help me….I’m feeling my age! But my user name is “theotherpattysmith” so maybe you can link me that way. (you don’t have to post this, I just wanted to give you my username since I’m so techno challenged in linking you!)

March 18, 2016 - 3:54 pm

Darleen - Oh my gosh this made me cry too!!!! You are linked to my soul through social-media and I am so excited to get to be encouraged by your hope and amazing outlook on life each day now! Thank you so much for what you have given permission to in a world of trying to put the phone down! I am going to start taking pictures now and letting social media be an avenue to opening a documentary of my life as mundane as it seems…Much love to you sister Bo!

March 18, 2016 - 9:14 pm

Jody Collins - Bo, I document my life–and my children’s and grandchildren’s–on Facebook and Instagram, both of which I am eternally grateful for. (yes I ended that with a preposition).
Your take on this subject is very refreshing–I like the idea of #ProjectYesToLife–I’ll be looking and waving.

March 19, 2016 - 2:09 pm

Marlys Johnson - Beautifully said … as always!

March 20, 2016 - 10:46 am

Kelly Rompel - This is beautiful! I’ve struggled with this very same thing of considering to share but wondering what others would be annoyed by. No more. Life is worth living and sharing, not for who receives but for the very fact that I can give. We all can give and share. Thank you Bo for living your life.

On Being Numb and Waking Up Wisely

 

 Orange rosesI love passion like Oprah loves bread (and I also love bread.)

 

The feeling of passion that inspires deep love, desire, anger, hatred, outrage, exasperation, reminds us we’re alive and kicking. This is good. For those of us who have experienced the lethargy of grief, these sparky emotions create a sense of something that may not be called “pleasant”, but could be called Phew.

 

When sorrow kicks in the door and we employ all our numbing agents to survive it, it’s often a huge relief just to feel anything other than sadness. Even being mad at the political system has been a welcome change of emotion for me from sadness. It’s a spark, and I don’t think feeling the spark is bad. But it can become bad if I respond to it without discipline because, for me, passion fuels words. And words start fires. (For other people, passion can fuel relationships or addictions or extreme decisions or fantastic decisions – it all depends on how we channel it.)

 

 

As I move further into this new life without Steve, I feel myself slowly waking up – a little like the way the anesthesia wears off after a root canal. I always want to eat as soon as I start to feel again, but I forget that I can’t feel enough yet to not bite my own cheek. And I’ve found that it’s possible to do a fair amount of self-injury, coming out of the sorrow stupor if I haven’t built in some boundaries for channeling passion in healthy ways. For me, the boundaries are:

 

 

  1. Truth-telling friends who are given plenty of opportunity to speak into my life.
  2. A determination to get myself out of my comfort zone (aka: my quiet house) because I’ve learned that things grow very, very big inside my own head and when I take those thoughts out into the real world, they quickly shrink down to their real size.
  3. A first-thing-every-morning meeting with myself to answer one main question that will order my day and my decisions: what does love require of me? Because love gives purpose to passion.

And even with these guard rails, I feel like I still blow it at least as often as I get it right. But passion is real and powerful, and feeling it is a gift. My big prayer at this stage of the game is to channel it well and wisely and my second big prayer is that our good and gracious God will keep the fallout contained when I don’t. He’s good that way, I think, even when I’m not.

 

 

With hope,

 

Bo

 

 

 

March 16, 2016 - 3:28 pm

Marlys Johnson - Well said, Bo. Stepping outside comfort zones and first-thing-in-the-morning meetings with myself and with God have certainly helped me with this new widow mantle that is mine.

The Power of Habit

 

 

 

 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” -Will Durant

 

 

I’ve been reading a lot about habit-building and I’ve discovered a problem with me:  I’m great at identifying big things that need to change. I mean, great at it! I’m a world-class goal-setter.  But I lack the attention span to institute wholesale changes in my life.  I really need bite-sized goals that can be done repeatedly over the long haul. These sorts of stepping stones to change are more achievable and less soul-crushing should I – gasp! – fail for a day or a week or entirely.  So, as I’ve identified the bigger things I want to accomplish or change, I’ve tried to break them down into micro habits that feel doable and will still feed the larger goal.  I’ve been amazed at the effectiveness of this system so far.  Here’s an example of one (that I recently mentioned on Facebook that generated a lot of emails and questions and led to this post):

 

 

Big Goal:  Eliminate Clutter (it’s a really big goal for me! I’m super cluttery.)

 

Micro habit: I will wear the very first outfit I put on in the morning for 21 days.

 

The thing is, I really love clothes and I have too many options. It is not an exaggeration to say I sometimes change five to ten (!) times (I know), which means my bed was always piled high with the mess of rejects and who has time to hang all those up when you’re trying to get out the door?  This one bad habit was creating six days of clutter in about fifteen minutes, which I was coming home to at the end of a long day.  It also created stress.  The more I changed, the more I felt my blood pressure rising from frustration and insecurity with my decision-making abilities.  Finally, this one little habit was breeding discontent. I had trained myself to believe my first choice couldn’t be the best choice, which created a nagging dissatisfaction with a perfectly good wardrobe and worse, with myself in general.

 

So, I did it.  I made the micro habit an essential part of my day and, as I mentioned, it was hard.  It was especially difficult on days when I was speaking and felt the pressure of the big screen weighing heavily on my outfit choice.  But I stuck with it and you know what I discovered?  Once I left the house, I never really gave my outfit another thought and – here’s the bigger piece – neither did anyone else!  No one pointed or laughed or told me I should have taken another crack at it. Turns out, at the root of my clothes-changing-addiction is an unhealthy self-focus. (You probably figured that out like three paragraphs ago, but I’m a slow processor.)  I wouldn’t have called it pride before, I would have called it insecurity – but they’re really just two sides of the same coin. Here are the wins from this micro habit:

 

  • I have a  new awareness of the role clothing plays in my identity. I needed a wake-up call there and didn’t realize it.
  • I make more intentional decisions about what I will put on in the first place, which is leading to greater levels of intentionality in other areas as well.
  • I have more peace and less frantic in the mornings, which means this is good for the boy who shares my home as well.
  • Remember when I said “I love clothes and have too many options”?  Yeah, that became the subject of my next micro habit which I may write about soon.
  • There has been SO much improvement in the clutter situation  – and I’ll remind you this was the only reason I started this experiment in the first place.  Turns out, I got so much more beauty than I bargained for!

 

Have I stuck with the habit?  Yep, pretty much.  I still have relapses, but I always notice them and recognize the negative things they produce and I think that’s a win as well.  Overall, I’m thrilled with the results of this one tiny, little, baby step.  So, enough about me – are there any new micro habits in the works in your life?  How’s it going?

 

With hope for powerful habits,

 

Bo

 

PS: Books I read and really enjoyed on this topic:

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg

The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor

Before Happiness, by Shawn Achor

 

 

 

March 12, 2016 - 7:15 am

Miranda - I love the idea of a micro goal to accomplish the big goal. I have been striving these last 2 years especially to become more organized and keep our home better. It took me a while to realize that it was not going to happen with 1 major decluttering session, but rather with my every day habits. I’ve never actually sat down and written anything out – mostly because iam great at lists and not so great at follow through 🙂 But I think I am going to try the micro goal idea.

March 12, 2016 - 3:38 pm

Jody Collins - Bo, I need to lose 15 pounds and exercise more (I know, bo-ring…)particularly since arthritis has decided to visit me recently, something I’ve never dealt with. I”m 63; I suppose it’s time.
A mini-solution: every time I find myself with 5 minutes to spare I do leg lifts on my stairs, calf stretches at the cabinet or arm windmill-y things for my shoulders.
Baby steps…
Now, if I can figure out a way to make the pounds melt…

The Thing About Number Six

 

 

It’s Monday and Monday is usually a fresh start for me.  I love Mondays.

 

 

Except today.

 

 

Today, I woke up feeling hunched over. Pushed down.  And the funny thing is, it’s not my immediate circumstances that feel weighty.  My life is really pretty solid right now. It’s the stuff outside and the process of determining what gets to come inside.

 

 

Politics are driving me crazy.  I’m passionate about most things – it’s a good and bad thing in me – and I therefore have a pretty strong opinion about every thing I read or see flying around on facebook.  I even have an opinion about your opinion, though I’m better about letting that go than I’ve ever been. Today I’m wondering, how much should I care about this Very Big Deal in our country? How much should I pray, how much should I say, how much more noise does this thing really need?

 

 

Social issues are weighty and pressing. Syria, orphans, human trafficking, racial tensions and our country’s divided view of their reality, ALS and other deadly diseases, lack of clean water, the need for young women to get an education…everything is important.  Most of these things even carry life-and-death consequences.

 

 

And people.  People right here in my city are hurting – longing for connection and community.  I get emails nearly every day, asking for a coffee meeting to talk about why I think the Bible is absolutely true or could I call someone’s friend who was just diagnosed with cancer or connect with someone’s daughter who just moved to Bend and has no friends.  They are all good, kind requests and any one of them is possible in my schedule, but not the bulk of them and so the decision about what to let inside becomes a weight in itself.

 

 

When Steve died, I sat down and wrote some things I definitely wanted for my new, single life.  At the top of the list:  Well-ordered priorities.  In my world right now, the priorities are currently:

 

 

  1. My own health and healing – spiritual, emotional, physical. If this one doesn’t work, none of the rest work either.
  2. Parenting well – the sense of responsibility I feel as the only parent is not something I could easily describe. It’s just very, very real.
  3. My job, which both pays the bills and provides a great sense of purpose and fulfillment.
  4. My tribe. They are people who have been with me through thick and thin and have a voice into my life. They often serve as a Steve surrogate, listening to my heart and helping separate the wheat from the chaff.  I would say there are about two dozen people in this category and they are GOLD to me and not easily replaced. But like all relationships, they don’t maintain themselves. They require time and nourishment and conversation.
  5. The ALS Community.  I will almost always push an ALS need to the top of the pile. The disease is so vicious and rare, that those going through it are desperate for mentors and encouragers and I want to be one of those, but I do often wonder how to fit it all in.

 

 

And then there’s Number 6.  Number 6 is where my problems start.  It’s the blank space, the open territory that could be occupied by politics or coffee with young women who want to be pastors or research on the Syrian civil war. Number 6 could be almost anything, because after the first five everything else is somewhat equal. But the problem is when, like today, Number 6 becomes weightier than the main list. There’s something about it’s lack of definition that makes it noisier than those others.  Maybe it’s because the first five have been around a long time and can seem like they’re doing fine compared to Syrian refugees.  That blank space has an of-the-moment appeal that moves my short attention span toward shiny things.

 

 

One thing I know for certain is true:  I only have a certain amount of seed (time, talent, treasure) to sow and I can’t magically create more. I can only use what’s left after the others are well cared for.  Number 6, therefore, is a daily exercise in listening to the Holy Spirit for what I should do with this handful of seed.  Where will it land and grow most effectively?  What are my motives in sowing?  I recently spent hours on a blog post about my current political leanings only to realize: this isn’t going to help anyone.  My motives in writing it were, frankly, to spout off and look smart.  The end result was two hours of seed, thrown to the wind.  Sigh.

 

 

So, that’s my thing today.  What to do with Number 6.  Have you found a good way to order your priorities and deal with the onslaught of seed-hungry opportunities?  I’d love to hear about it.  Help a sister out.

 

 

With hope,

 

Bo

 

 

 

March 7, 2016 - 10:08 am

Kaci - Love. Every single word of this. Number 6 in my life needs some supernatural wisdom. Praying for us both… Seriously!

March 7, 2016 - 11:40 am

Debbie - #6 as you categorize it is probably a hard one for most of us. For myself I have delegated a couple things that might tend to weigh some people down. Politics and volunteer work are the 2 that can drive me crazy. I hate politics and my husband is political enough for our entire family, lol. I do trust his judgement and so I let him lead and I follow. Not to say that I don’t have an opinion because I do on most things but this year the politics are just too much for me. So for me I can hand that one thing off. You may not be able to actually hand any of 1 – 6 off but maybe you can rely on someone else’s opinion now and then on some things.
Now volunteering has been an issue of late – I am learning to say NO. Your word this year is YES, mine might be NO.

Good luck.

March 7, 2016 - 1:58 pm

Nikki - My go-to for the overwhelm of ambiguity and just…ALL THE REST…is to just do the next thing, without thinking or contemplating or pondering or analyzing its purpose or direction or outcome or…

Just do the next thing.

If that means the dishes, then so be it. If it means the phone call that comes in right at that moment, so be it. If it means sitting on the porch staring straight out into space and feeling every single feeling, so be it.

Perhaps #6 is not to be defined. Ever. And that’s the point. 🙂

March 7, 2016 - 2:16 pm

Kathryn Vai - First, huge hugs!

Second, I love how you lay your heart bare and tell the truth. Life can be so hard and knowing that we all struggle makes it so much easier to bear. Thank you.

Third, yes. I totally relate to the challenge of allocating my energy with faithfulness. It sounds so blasted easy, but I often find myself trying to stretch my resources past what I can reasonably manage. I rely on systems to keep me on track- prayer before I start my day, fix my breakfast and lunch for work the next day before I go to bed, get off the train one stop ahead so I can squeeze in some exercise- but sometimes I think all those systems do is keep me so busy I don’t have time to do what’s really important!

It finally occurred to me last week (LAST WEEK- don’t ask me how old I am!)that I spend so much energy on work that I don’t have any left for the thing I always say I would do if I didn’t have to work. You know, when someone asks what you would do if you won the Lottery? The answer that practically bolts out of my mouth before the question is even completed? Yeah, THAT thing. So my challenge is to figure out how to make that a priority and not use up ALL my reserves on stuff that is important, but not most important. So I am now back to praying more and asking for some suggestions. LOL

March 7, 2016 - 2:22 pm

ChrisAnn McBride - Hi Bo,
I just wanted to say thank You for sharing. Your words are so nourishing.
You’ve managed to bring out some of my feelings from within to words on paper that completely discribe some of them. Such a gift. Thank You again.

I love that you realized your motive and changed it, I love that you are working thru your priority list.

Most importantly that allowing Holy Spirit to lead. All of this is so nourishing to hold dear, infact, I’m going to print out and highlight what speaks to me and place in my planner/ diary.

March 8, 2016 - 7:05 am

Kristen - One thing I started doing about eight months ago that has helped me with #6 is that I started quarantining it. You want to have coffee with me? Fantastic. But I can only meet on Fridays. You want me to review your manuscript? Excellent. I’ll get through what you send on Fridays. I have a great idea for a blog post! Good for me, but…can’t devote time to it until Friday. That goes for you, too, pedicure.

By telling #6 where it’s allowed to hang out, I’ve been able to (mostly) keep it from wreaking havoc on Numbers 1-5.

March 8, 2016 - 7:17 am

Jennifer Wassel - Blessings on you, Bo! I’ve followed & quoted you (w/references to your site) over the past year as I cared for my father, diagnosed w/leukemia til his home going, & both cared for & then oversaw my mother who had Alzheimer’s til she went to join my father. Your faithful & honest words were a source of comfort, & I prayed for you & your family.
What a gift you have, to be able to express what is so familiar to so many. As I am juggling all of the 1’s through 5’s on my list, after battling through the events & consequences of the events of 2015, I so related. Just when you think it’s safe to go into the water….???!!!! And the swirling dervish of the current political arena is a HUGE distraction. I’m with you, & I’m sure we’d solve all the world’s problems, but that most definitely IS throwing seed to the wind. I second that sigh!
When you said you couldn’t “magically create more,” it triggered something I’ve been thinking about, as I’ve struggled to manage my time & resources . . . And NOT to always say ‘Yes’ to absolutely every need that crosses our path, but didn’t Jesus create more out of little? I’ve been thinking about how we emphasize tithing in our finances, but what about tithing in ALL our God-given resources? (Not being legalistic here either, so I mean in the spirit of the tithe, & also not “tithing” to get more of what I want/need from God; just being obedient & letting the chips fall…)
Soooo, I’m trying to experiment with this thing called obedience, focusing on not OVERdoing any of 1-5 & re-apportioning my time & resources, then just trusting that if Jesus could multiply the loaves & fish, He can multiply whatever I need to be obedient to all the items, 1-6,7,8…. (Or whatever comes up in the number 6 slot!)
Thanks for sharing all your beauty, Bo! I appreciate you very much.

March 8, 2016 - 5:13 pm

Jody Collins - Bo, I have no good way to set daily priorities other than to say pray and ask the Holy Spirit and trust that He will tell you.
Which sounds like what you’ve been doing all along…
I will say how much your words resonated re: the whole ‘number 6’ thing. YOu’re right–after we prioritize the top 5, there are so MANY other things that could be next. I think it’s the number 6 things that occupy our sowing time (and end up maybe being chaff instead). The number one things seem more obvious.
May God give us all grace to tell the difference and keep clinging to him.

March 22, 2016 - 9:39 pm

Jewl - I’m re-reading your recent blog posts. It all resonates. The power of habit. Priorities: And yes! It all seems important: politics, giving a helping hand, prayer, … oh, yes, and meals. Shoot–add in sleep (right now the clock shows it’s after midnight and the dishes still wait). The pull of 6: 6 is enticing because I don’t “have” to do it, at least right away. Or the fear that if I don’t write that friend back now, it won’t ever get done. The crazy idea that “Do the quick now” so to better tackle the “BIG,” but meanwhile, I never do get to the BIG projects, the piles grown, and they paralyze me even more, and no one in this home is chronically ill! Yet, I know that that conversation with my teen trumped all those projects, so yea! (And good for you for designated touch points with J.) Praying with you for greater understanding and choosing the best in these days, while giving ourselves grace for the journey.

Doing What’s Working: A Purely Subjective Take on Surviving Sorrow

 

 

Confession:  Seven months after losing Steve, I have yet to make it through an entire book on dealing with grief. Partly, because I read too many books at once and the grief books are easiest to put down.  But more because the minute I run into subjective truth that’s stated as universal, I tend to tap out. I’m not defending that method, just being honest about my response system.

 

I never want to be someone who spits out easy answers or weary platitudes, but I do want to be a helpful voice in the journey for those coming along behind. I really, really do. In fact, I feel it’s part of the reason I’m even on this spinning planet to begin with.  So, I want to share my entire strategy for walking this weird road in one sentence and it is this:

 

Do what’s working.

 

 

If something works, I try to stick with it.  If something doesn’t work, I put it on the shelf for a bit and maybe I’ll try that thing later, but for now, I put the bulk of my limited energy into the things that make me the happiest in the long run.  Here’s my short list of current Happymaking habits – these may not be happy for you, but I encourage you listen to the rhythms of your life and make a list of your own.

 

 

Movement. After five months of resisting running (which I LOVED before), I finally re-prioritized it.  Actually, I prioritized walking, which led to running which has led to new levels of health and happiness on nearly every level. Running, for me, involves the great outdoors, fresh air, great music and those beautiful and mysterious endorphins.  I try to get a trail (or as a last resort: treadmill) beneath my feet 4-6 days each week.

 

Social Connection.  I made a contract with my introverted self to connect with three people for coffee or happy hour each week.  I further promised that I would, in each of these connections, share honestly and transparently about something going on in my life – not everything, but something. Every Sunday, I take a look at how I did with this and determine who I will connect with in the week ahead. This habit has brought so much life and healing and I know Steve – who was the extrovert in our relationship – would be really proud of me for doing it.

 

Food with Joe.  This is a whole, big long story that I will probably write more about down the road, but for now I will say that many failures led to the formation of a new habit which has proven to be a huge success: Eating with Josiah four times each week.  We cook together three nights a week (for convenience and fun, we use this company and sometimes this one, and we love it!) and have an official lunch out every Sunday during which Joe gives me an update on his relationship with time, grades, money, friends and Jesus. We’re on our fourth month of this system and I can’t tell you how much it’s impacted our relationship and my happiness level in general.

 

Sleep.  I’m not an awesome sleeper, but both science and experience tell me it’s essential.  Honestly, my life implodes without good sleep.  So, I’ve had to establish strong and often unpleasant micro habits, like going to bed earlier than I want to and saying no to that afternoon cup of coffee, in order to make it a priority. I’m still not great at it, but I’m learning what works and what definitely doesn’t.

 

Mornings.  Starting the day with solitude is probably the single most important habit in my life. It gives me a chance to think, pray, plan and just sit with the sunrise. This has been true in my life for about ten years, but I wasn’t able to stick with it the last year of Steve’s life because of the aforementioned sleep situation.  It’s good to be back to mornings.

 

There are other, smaller things, like crying when I need to, journaling the journey, talking with friends who are farther down the sorrow road than I am, etc., but these five have been the most consistently effective habits I’ve committed to thus far. Within each one is a list of micro habits that make the big one easier to tackle, but that’s another post for another time.

 

Wherever you find yourself today, I hope you feel the warm grace of a good God breaking through the icy edges of winter.

 

With hope for spring,

 

Bo

 

 

February 25, 2016 - 11:16 am

Flor Nunez - Thank you for always bring your best to all of your followers! I am so blessed with your advise which comes to awaken the real me in the midst of a season of health struggles. May our good God continue to inspire you to bless us!!

February 25, 2016 - 11:38 am

Holly McKim - Bo- Thank you for sharing nuggets of truth, wisdom, and your journey. I do not have anything that comes close to paralleling the road you are on, but I am often challenged and encouraged by your words. I recently told a friend “Don’t be the you, you don’t want to be. Create a support system. Make a plan. It’s time to stand up and do something!” It turns out that I was talking to myself as well and I really like you action steps 🙂 Thanks for bringing more ideas to the table so that I might glean one or two. Ultimately, I’ll land on what works so I can “Do what’s working”. Vastly different journey- same God.

February 26, 2016 - 9:55 am

Marlys Johnson - When I was first widowed, I worried that I wasn’t grieving the right way … because I wasn’t falling into any deep, dark holes. Because I have yet to cry myself to sleep (not that I haven’t cried … oh yes, I’ve cried), but not to sleep. And because I could sit in church alone; I could walk the trails alone that Hubby and I hiked together; I could come home alone to an empty home. What was wrong with me?!!

But as you surely must know from your blog, everyone grieves differently. And here is what works for you. And I love that you don’t want to spit out weary platitudes, but you do want to be helpful. Thank you for your good, honest, down-to-earth tips and insights.

February 27, 2016 - 9:06 pm

Miranda - I have been reading your blog for a while now. I always want to comment but I don’t really know what to say. Thank you for sharing your story.