Why I’m not thankful this November

Each month, over the past year, I’ve taken on a project, like drinking more water, or getting outside every day, or limiting my online presence.
For November, the most logical project would be to spend days being thankful.  And if those who have been following this project would have to take a guess, I think most would assume that I’d go with some kind of thankfulness experiment… but they’d be wrong.

I have a confession: the daily thankful stuff during November drives me bananas.

I know. I’m a horrible person.

It’s not that I don’t have things to be thankful for – I actually have SO MUCH to be thankful for.  But I’ve started to wonder what the point is of all my blessings if I’m just saying I’m thankful and that’s it.
What does that really do?
Does it change anything? Does it change me? More importantly, does it change the world?
My gratitude month (in May) taught me that it’s not being thankful for the big things, (like family, friends, a job, health, etc) that bring gratitude and joy. No, surprisingly, it’s the little things – tiny, otherwise unnoticed moments in the day – that change our perspective and us.
So why spend a month being thankful for those big things when I’m not really sure it does anything?

After some thought – I’ve decided to make this month’s project “service.”
Simply put – I’m going to do daily acts of service for the month of November.
They don’t have to be big all-day events, but small moments where I intentionally give back.
Give back out of the blessings I have been given.
Give back out of gratitude for the people that I love and who love me.

Being thankful is a start, but we can go further.
This month, I challenge you to be more than thankful.
I challenge you take the things you are thankful for, and give out of those things.
Thankful for your kid? What can you do to serve out of that place?
Thankful for your amazing parents? What can you do for them, or people who don’t have amazing parents?

It’s not quick and easy like posting what you are thankful for today to facebook.
This practice means taking time and being thoughtful and intentional around your blessings.
But we can do it.
And I think we’ll be better off for trying.

Who’s with me?

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Project 12:30 November

For my monthly “project” in November, most would assume that I’d go with thankfulness… but I have a confession: the daily thankful stuff during November drives me bananas.
I know. I’m a horrible person.
It’s not that I don’t have things to be thankful for – I actually have SO MUCH to be thankful for.  But I’ve started to wonder what the point is of all my blessings if I’m just being thankful and that’s it.
What does that really do?
My gratitude month in May reminded me that it’s not actually being thankful for the big things, (like family, friends, a job, health, etc) that bring gratitude and joy.  It’s the little things – tiny, otherwise unnoticed moments in the day – that change our perspective and us.

So I’ve made this month’s project “service.”
I’m going to do daily acts of service for the month of November.
They don’t have to be big all-day events, but small moments where I intentionally give back.
Give back out of the blessings I have been given.
Give back out of gratitude for the people that I love and who love me.

This month, I challenge you to be more than thankful.
I challenge you take the things you are thankful for, and give out of those things.
It’s not quick and easy like posting to facebook.
It means taking time and being thoughtful and intentional around your blessings.
But we can do it.

Who’s with me?

Project 12:30 October wrap up

So October has come and gone.
I cannot believe how quickly it went!
I had good and bad days with my online presence fast.  If nothing else, I realized how much I was attached to my phone and checking my online communities.
But, I have really learned to let go this last month.
I’ve kept my phone away from family time, from the dinner table, and my bedroom.
It’s not easy, but it was a start, and I think this month’s habit is one I’m going to keep.

12:30 Project – October: offline presence month.

So a long time ago, when I came up with this plan for a monthly focus each month for a year, I thought I’d go meatless for October.  And while I may still move that to a different month, I’ve decided to reduce my intake of something a lot more addictive and delicious, and detrimental: the interwebs.

Now, I’m not saying the online world is a bad place, but I saw these ads recently and they looked sadly familiar:
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Yeah.
I wish they weren’t representative of me, but I kind of think they are.

So I’m going to set some stricter boundaries on my phone/internet/social media use.
I want to be present for the people around me. Really, actually present.
And while it doesn’t sound like that should be hard, I think it is.

SO here are my rules:
1. No phone at mealtime. Ever.  It can wait. No matter what it is. It can wait.
2. No checking phone while I’m in bed.  Not right away when I wake up, not when I’m going to sleep.
3. If I’m going somewhere with my little or my hubby, the phone either stays at home, or in my pocket (unless I’m taking a picture, or it’s an emergency).
4. If I’m talking to someone, my full attention on the conversation, unless they ask me to look something up or put something in a calendar.  If they come into my office, I close all windows and stop what I’m doing.

All of these focus on presence.  And I think, as much as it would be interesting to go meatless for awhile, I think the impact of my presence will be greater than my not eating meat.

I actually think #2 is going to be the hardest.  I have a tendency to wake up and grab my phone first thing, to check all the various social media outlets and emails, to see who texted after 9 (I have a do not disturb function that turns on at 9pm and off at 8am).  I get sucked into the black hole of posts and interesting emails and suddenly my morning becomes rushed instead of relaxing.

So there it is.  October is offline presence month.
Anyone want to try it with me?

Project 12:30 August to September

Creation month is finished – and even though it was a new month today, I watched an absolutely STUNNING sunrise this morning and feel like I might not be able to give them up.  Which means a lot less sleeping in for me, but still, I don’t know if I can go back.

mpls-sunrise-500x367

I mean, seriously.

It’s September 1st, which means a new month in Project 12:30, and this one is Bible.
I do have a daily devotional practice, and there are Bible verses in that daily devotional, so this month I want to add something to my existing practice.
I don’t often give myself a chance to really go deep into scripture unless I’m preaching or doing something for my job.
I’d like to change that, so here goes:
There are five weeks (at least partial) in September, and 5 chapters in the book of James.
Each week, I’m going to read a chapter and post on it.
Read with me, and let’s dig into this book together!
First post will be tomorrow!  Read James 1 today/tonight if you want to join me!

Project 12:30 Update

Hey all!

I feel like I’ve done a poor job of posting about this 12:30 stuff, but I have been doing it.

August has been Creation month, and it’s been amazing.
My goal in this month has been to spend at least 30 minutes a day in creation.
It is awesome.
I find myself wishing for more of August, since this month has been amazing.
I have seen more sunrises, more sunsets, and lately, my morning has begun with a short walk to get my daughter on the bus, and then a lovely and early walk home.
It’s been cool, but clear, and the noises of the city waking up are starting my day off right.

In the beginning and middle of the month, I was on vacation up north, and went camping one weekend as well.  I spent a lot of mornings doing yoga facing the lake, and many nights around campfires and stargazing.
How quickly I forget what nature holds when I live in the city.

Only a few days left, but join me – and GO OUTSIDE!!!!

“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.”  Martin Luther

Project 12:30 – July!

It’s July 15 – and I realized that I hadn’t written anything about this month’s project yet.
So here we go.  July is kindness month.

Now, you’d think this would be something I do anyway, but this month is a different focus. It’s not just basic ‘be a good human being’ kindness, but daily, intentional, above and beyond kindness.

Here’s what I’ve been trying to do.
1. If you’re not kind on the internet, you’re not kind.
2. Set an intention
3. We can do hard things

So:
1. If you’re not kind on the internet, you’re not kind.
this seems pretty self explanatory, but truly, it’s so easy to get sucked into things online.  And I’ve been trying to back away from engaging online and even from posting  as much as usual.  As I love facebook and twitter, this is NOT easy for me.  Though – I will say, that my reputation on twitter is one of kindness, and I’m really ok with that.  Somehow I find it easier to not engage on twitter than I do on fbook.

2. Set an intention
every morning I do yoga – and a part of the practice is setting an intention before I begin.  This month – my intention is to cultivate kindness.  I start my practice with that – and then end it with saying “may I have kindness in my thoughts, kindness in my words, kindness in my heart” as I move my prayer hands from head to heart.  It’s an important part of my practice and I think it’s making a difference

3. It’s all in the mind
It’s not like being kind is always easy.  It is easy while I’m on my mat and alone in my house.  But then my little throws a fit and someone passes me on the shoulder during my commute (yes, that happened) and kindness becomes harder to remember.  It’s in these moments, that I remember I can control only myself, and I can be kind, even when it’s hard.  As Glennon Melton says, “We can do hard things”

So there it is.
Sorry it’s late – but if you are joining me at all, there is still time!

Project 12:30, Gratitude Month Ends, Rest month begins.

So gratitude month was my absolute favorite.  I’m not sure anything will stack up to it, but we’ll see…

Here’s how it ended:
18: Book club
19: meeting new POP people
20: pastors hanging out
21: massages, always massages
22: alone at the office
23: random seeing bestie
24: naps
25: an extra day off!
26: new home blessings
27: pre-k rodeo
28: L’s teachers and so much love
29: co-workers who like each other, also, cake.
30: new babies!
31: being beloved. in so many ways.

I really can’t think of a better way to end my gratitude month than with my ordination, where I felt overwhelmed and grateful all darn day long.  Whew!  It was an amazing day to cap off an amazing month!

Now it’s a new month, and I have been in “rest/sleep” month for about a week.
This month also happens to be #empower30 in my online yoga community (a thirty day power yoga journey), and I have to say these are either the two worst or two best things to go together.
In this sleep month, I’m basically aiming for 8 hours of sleep a night.  I’ve done ok – but I’ve also had some caffeine a bit more lately, and that’s affecting the go to sleep time.  BUT I’m doing ok. I’ve gotten 8 hours every day and I even got more than 8 hours over the weekend, because we were kid free and that helped (a lot).
Last night, not so good, but I’m up with 7 hours of sleep in me, and doing ok.  I can definitely tell though – so I’ll work hard to get back in the right rhythm tonight.

Join me this month!  Take it easy – say no to things that drain you, and get to bed at a decent hour!  It’s amazing what the right amount of sleep can do for your mood, health, and energy.  I like it.

Project 12:30 – Gratitude Month continued

So I have to say, this month is quickly becoming my favorite.
I find myself more content, more joyful, more peaceful when I take a moment and reflect on the things in my day for which I am grateful.

Again, I try to do little things, normal daily life things – not the usual: family, friends, life… Because in a way, that’s too easy.
This exercise is about the little things.  Appreciating the ordinary.
So here’s the days of gratitude:
6th: brunch, specficially, lemon ricotta pancakes with Steph.
7th: kitty snuggles while reading
8th: seeing familiar faces in unexpected places
9th: the ink whisperer
10th: Being told “you’re off duty”
11th: being home for bedtime (yey short meetings!)
12th: grace in the face of forgetfulness
13th: completing all the checks on my list on a Wednesday!
14th: Love Flash Mob
15th: Social Extrovert time
16th: Being Inspired at a church assembly (shocking)
17th: digging in the dirt

If you haven’t done this yet, it’s never too late to begin.  Join me.  Seriously. This is the best month ever.

Project 12:30 – May!

Before I get into my May project, I need to confess that I didn’t do a great job in April.  I did try to pray every day, but didn’t always take the time to actually do it.  I also found it was a lot more difficult to pray for someone I didn’t like than I had initially anticipated.  I actually thought the silence part of the prayer practice would be harder, but it was pretty good.

All in all, I’ve deepened my prayer practice, but I don’t think it has changed my daily routine all that much, so that’s kind of disappointing.

But, it’s on to May.  Gratitude month.
My goal this month isn’t to be grateful for the obvious things, like my husband or kid, who are both awesome, or even my friends or family, or great job, etc…
But instead, my practice this month is going to be about the little things.
In my research for this gratitude month, I’ve learned that people who have a daily gratitude practice on the little things report being happier, more joyful, and less stressed.  I think I would be fine with all of those things.

So, to start my little things for the first few days of May:
1st: kid-free weekends.
2nd: outdoor couches. seriously.
3rd: 5 neighborhood kids running in the sprinkler in our yard, giggles and joy
4th: the smell of our backyard today. lilacs + flowering trees = amazingness
5th: mama duck and 15 ducklings joining me and my reading buddy for lunch. SO CUTE.

I’ll continue to post these every couple of days, but if you’re a blog follower, I encourage you to join me in this small things gratitude practice for May.