Be ~ Jen

Multi-tasking is bad for us, right? Big bad. Stress-us-out-and-give-us-cancer bad.

We try to make multi-tasking into a badge of honor, but that’s crap. All it does is place our need for validation in one 90 mile an hour basket.

This used to be my life, when I was a teaching, mothering, wifeing, friending, volunteering fool. I could teach the children, answer email, shop for shoes, plan vacation, grade papers and mentor colleagues all before lunch. Then I came home and worked out, answered texts, baked cookies for the bake sale, helped the kids with homework, did the laundry and cooked dinner. My life looked like this:

graph 1

Check me out. Man, you either got on board my crazy train or got run over. C’est la vie.

Then I one day I told Shea “Sure, I’ll have another baby, if I can stay home.” He called my bluff and two years later, I was a stay at home mom with a newborn. I hadn’t quite considered all the consequences:

graph 2

Some people may see those gaps as an opportunity for rest.  But the Master Multi-Tasker has no idea what rest is. To me, those huge gaps look like wasted space. Just having a newborn was for rookies. I would have a newborn and serve on the PTL and a corporate board and turn laundry into an insane art form. I would blog and post on Facebook three times a day and monitor the weather and traffic for all my close friends and family.

Do I have to say that this level of go is not sustainable? For anyone? Something will give. In my case, two somethings before I paid attention.

I was doing too much. Way, way too much. I was trying to be all things to all people. I didn’t want to let anyone down—not my husband, not my kids, not my students, not my colleagues, not my bosses, not my neighbors, not my family, not my kid’s school, not my church, not anyone.

You think that list is crazy?

What does yours look like?

We do too much. And in order to do too much, we multi-task. That means we do none of it well, because we’re moving too fast to really have a care. There’s no time for care! We say yes to everyone on that list, and then we short change them all, because that’s the only way to do it. We train ourselves to believe that rest is sloth, and we forget how to be. Still.

Then we are diagnosed with anxiety disorders and get cancer and divorces and we turn around one day and our kids are grown and we cannot for the life of us account for the years.

What if we just didn’t. Didn’t try to be all things to all people. Didn’t say yes. Didn’t try to balance our lives so that all things are equal. Yeah, that’s right. All the things in our life are not equal. The boss does not deserve the same time and attention as the spouse or the kids.

And what if we just be. Be the one who learned to say no. Be the one who cut some things out, like team parent or coaching or that committee at work. Be the one who made room for rest who took our charts, cleared them out and made some space. And then, instead of filling the space right back up, did this:

graph 3

We can do less, but do it wider, slower, better. We can take only the things we need, the things that make our lives lovely and amazing, and fill them up and out. Maybe–probably–we would feel less hollow, guilty and not enough. Instead, we could have more space and feel more fulfilled.

The thing I loved the most about this Christmas season was the ground swell of voices talking about less and slower. We can carry that momentum into 2014 and into all parts of our lives.

Do less. Be more. Happy New Year!

High Harvest ~ Dana

When Jen and I were brainstorming names for our new blog, one of the words that really resonated with me was “Harvest.”  I bounced around a lot of titles including this word because I feel like this time in my life is the High Harvest.  It’s not the Thanksgiving, end of the season harvest, but the one where things are just starting to get good.  It’s like when the grocery store finally has good fruit again after a winter of just apples.

For as long as I can remember, I assumed that my life would be like my mom’s life:  That I would meet my future husband in college, that we would be married after we graduated, that we would start a family after a few years of getting used to being married.

But of course, my journey was quite different.  After school I lived in Europe.  I came home and bounced from job to job.  I met my husband the year that I turned 30.  And after a few years of dating, and a few years of marriage, Here we are.


Where the strawberries are, I see my two sweet daughters’ faces smiling back at me.  Amongst the watermelons, our lovely new home.  Tucked in with the pineapple, my darling husband.  And here and there, with the asparagus, the leeks, and the heirloom tomatoes, my family and the friends whom I cherish.

Now, lest you think that the harvest is a time to rest on one’s laurels, let me assure that the harvest is still work and life is not perfect.  We have two little ones, still in diapers.  My dad is in chemotherapy, fighting for his life.  My husband works time and a half every day so that I can stay at home with our children.  This is far from easy.  And we are not resting.

Still, I look at all of the wonderful things that are coming from my years of hard sowing and in those rare moments of solitude and quiet, I am so grateful to be just where I have landed.  I am enjoying the High Harvest and wondering which seeds I will sow next.

Here ~ Jen


For those of you who are new, I started on a blog called Hallelujah Highway with three good friends. For years and years, the Highway metaphor was apt for my life. I was journeying towards marriage, motherhood, economic security, health. There was always a bend or fork in the road up ahead, and I was moving, moving, moving.

My job was my gas pedal, speeding me on. Working required me to box my life into neat chunks of time. On a good day, all the chunks got checked off and I fell into bed with a book for one last twenty minute chunk before sleep.  I was good at this. Ninety miles an hour with my hair on fire.

Then I quit my job to stay home. Not without a lot of soul searching. I had a master’s degree and tenure and that cushy teacher’s pension everyone complains about. It wasn’t easy in the beginning. Life at home is busy, but moves at a softer speed. There are no defined chunks of time, just things to do. No pressure. No lists. No expectations. Believe it or not, that’s a hard adjustment.

I had a newborn, and for long months the goal was to get through each day. By the time she was old enough for me to think about a schedule other than hers, our lives had settled into a lovely rhythm that I didn’t want to disturb.

And now a year later, I know this: my life is not a highway anymore. Once I slowed down, I noticed that I had arrived. I was Here.

This is not about being a stay at home mom. That’s not what I mean by Here.

Here is a place for which my husband and I hoped, prayed and worked.

Here is a destination to be savored and explored.

Here there are graces and blessings and peace.

Here is what I wanted; I need to stand still, right Here and live it.

The journey is important. The journey pushes and strengthens us. But every journey needs a destination, or it’s just wandering.

We want this blog to be a place where we celebrate the Here. Our Here. Your Here. We want to bridge the gap between working moms and stay at home moms and figure out ways to help each other be happier and healthier in our Here.