When it Keeps Raining, Find Rainbows

It appears that the Atlanta area was under a water attack from the sky this week. It rained a lot and I’ve lost track of how many days we’ve gone without sunshine. When I woke up this morning, I thought “How do people in Seattle live with all this rain?” I know clouds and the lack of sunshine cause sad moods for a lot of people. But cloudy days don’t bother me anymore and I’ve learned to see the beauty in cloudy days as much as sunny ones.

I took one long look at the drawing and just like that, my summer-wasn’tsupposed-to-go-like-this-disappointment-cloud started to disappear.

My days seem cloudy though when my girls are sick. Jessa was sick at the beginning of summer for a whole week, and now a yucky virus has taken over Juliana’s tummy. It will take her a week to get well. That means another week of an upended routine, halted plans for summer camp and a freeze on the things that I am supposed to be handling; thus, putting me further behind. My girls have been sick for two weeks of our eight-week summer break. This is not the way summer was supposed to go!

Then, this morning as I was doing some cleaning, I came across the adorable rainbow drawing featured above that Jessa drew for me months ago. My kid loves rainbows! I have a lot of rainbow masterpieces, but in this one she added herself into the pic with a big smile. I took one long look at the drawing and just like that, my summer-wasn’t-supposed-to-go-like-this-disappointment-cloud started to disappear. SO WHAT if I’m pooped since I’ve been nurse-mommy for two weeks? SO WHAT if the rain has taken away some outdoor summer fun? SO WHAT if I’m behind with work? SO WHAT?

Like so many in Atlanta this week, I was busy looking at all that rain. I forgot that when rain comes, you also get rainbows. I had quite a few this week: a chance to watch some movies I’ve wanted to see, some real time to be still with my kid, and lots of extra hugs from Juliana; rainbows.

This post is for anyone who has, will or is facing disappointment. Oh, wait, that’s pretty much everyone I know. Even though I’m bummed that our routine will be upended for yet another week, I know that things will get back to normal soon enough. As I’m typing this post, the sun is peeking through the clouds and I just got another bear hug from Juliana. Yep, rainbows.

Interview with the First Love of Their Lives

It’s Father’s Day and I figured that I could save a few bucks on a gift and simply do a post telling my husband how great he is. Who wouldn’t want that? But, I changed my mind, got the gift and decided that I still wanted to share with the world how lucky my girls are to have such a great dad.

I’m not just saying this because he’s my husband, but Lamar realizes the importance that a dad plays in the family. He works super hard to be a great influence and role model for our girls. Here are his nuggets of wisdom about fatherhood.

~What has helped you most in preparing for being a dad? “Getting married later in life, I think I was more mature. I was in a men’s group that really helped and encouraged me. I’ve been around so many men who are good fathers. I’ve had good mentors.”

~You’re now seven years into fatherhood. What advice would you give to new dads? “More than anything, remember that someone is watching all the time. Therefore, you need to be an example.” And special needs dads? “To a special needs dad, I would say find that one thing that makes you smile and hold on to that. When you have those difficult moments, go back to that one thing. The tough times can’t take away that good thing. For me, it’s Juliana’s beautiful smile.”

~You read a lot of books specifically for fathers. What are you reading now? What’s your take-away from it thus far? “I’m reading Hero by Meg Meeker. My kids are constantly looking at me and I want to always be a hero in their eyes.”

~What other books have you read about fatherhood that you would recommend? Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker is by far my favorite. Other favorites include: Dad Time by Max Lucado and Be the Dad She Needs You to be by Kevin Leman.”

~Is being a dad all that you expected? “I think it’s all that I expected and then some, in a good way. Honestly, I could never have imagined it being as good as it is. What has surprised you most? “More than anything being able to watch my kids grow day-to-day. It’s mind boggling.”

~Men always get a bad rap for not being relational enough, so let’s debunk that myth some. I think you do a great job connecting with your male friends. Here’s your chance to acknowledge the guys who support you and those you support. So, who are you giving a shout-out to? “There’s no level of ranking here, but I want to shout-out to: Ed, Brian, Eric, Chris, Allen/Alan, Jason and of course my brothers.”

~This final question will certainly define you, and I’m sure it’s one on everyone’s mind–Golden State Warriors or Cleveland Cavaliers? The Warriors, of course. Stephen Curry is a big believer, family guy and role model.

And there you have it folks. See, I told you my girls are lucky.

Why I’m Giving up Multitasking for Good

See those knock-off Birkenstocks in the photo above? I got them for free with a coupon during a winter sale. They are not the cutest shoes—it’s like Birkenstocks meet clogs. But they are comfortable for wearing around the house.

These shoes were never supposed to be seen in public on my feet. But last Sunday, I wore them to church. Yes, let this be a lesson to all Fashionistas. Please learn from the error of my bad ways.

It’s time to stop multitasking!

For years, I prided myself as being a multitasker. I would show up for interviews boasting of my ability to do multiple projects at once. Not so long ago, my dear hubby and I got into a conversation about multitasking. I was still bragging.

Then, little things started happening around the house. An unattended pot that almost burned. Some gluten free cornbread that was ruined because I left out some key ingredients. And my recent faux pas—wearing my knock-off Birkenstock house slippers to church because I forgot to put on my real shoes. These incidents were the result of my multitasking and trying to do too many things at once.

Our brains work better and we get more done by focusing on one thing at a time. This is gonna take some getting used to for me.

A few months ago, I heard a report on the radio about the benefits of NOT multitasking. “Puh Leeze!” I scoffed at the radio. Everyone knows you can be more productive by having a lot of irons in the fire. And I love being productive! Then, a few weeks ago, I was listening to a radio host go through a hypothetical day of a working woman and all the things she really didn’t do because the tasks were overlapping and not being done well. The gist of the story was the lack of productivity achieved when doing too many things at once. I caught the tail end of the talk, so it prompted me to look up the research he referenced.

With a little digging, I found a study from Stanford University that proved his claim. And more studies like this one are reaching the same conclusion. It boils down to this—the results are worse for us (like wearing ugly shoes in public) when we focus on too many things at once. I’m convinced, but if you’re like me, it may take some time to change this habit. Now, instead of telling myself to “Do this. Do that,” I am consciously thinking “When I finish this, I will do that next.” This is a hard thing to alter as our society encourages us to cram eating, web-surfing, kid watching and texting into single moments to achieve as much as we can.

But the research doesn’t lie. Our brains work better and we get more done by focusing on one thing at a time. This is gonna take some getting used to for me. But if I gave up the art of busyness (read more about that here) then I can do this too. Anyway, I’m motivated now. I don’t want to risk another day in public in these shoes. Don’t even get me started on how hot they were. Lesson learned and hint taken!

How about you? Are you a little bit more convinced? Are you ready to boost your productivity by slowing down and doing more one thing at a time?