Monday, June 1, 2015

How will you Enjoy the Here and Now this summer?

When I was a young mother, I had to learn the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness, for me, is that light, easy feeling that comes when life is simple and good. Joy is the persevering peace that abides whether life is easy or complicated, full of strife or full of contentment. Learning to live in joy (en-joy) is a vital skill to master. – Tessa from "The Homestead Lady

If you follow me on facebook, you won’t be surprised to hear that I’m participating in the #ETHANproject this summer…since I announced it. I couldn’t wait! I’m so excited to be joining some of my favorite bloggers in a 10 week series of summer challenges and want to invite you to join us too.

#ETHANproject stands for “Enjoy the Here and Now”, and was developed to encourage moms to intentionally create space to be present (not just physically, but mentally and emotionally) and enjoy their kids this summer.

If you’re like me and you’re a mom of young kids, I know you can identify when I say that life is a whirlwind. The days often are long but seem like nothing got done and are full of busyness that I have trouble remembering at the end of the day. I mostly feel like I’m in survival mode and am trying to get everyone through until bedtime. Since my kids are not yet in school, summer pretty much feels like the rest of the year, perhaps with less resources and activities available. I’m hoping this challenge will help me parent with intentionality this summer.

In Shanghai in the summer, many families visit their home countries while the husbands stay here and work, so it can be a bit of a lonely time. This means that there are less activities taking place and that many friends are out of town. On the flip side it provides an opportunity to get to know people on a deeper level, and I’m grateful I had that experience last year. If you’re in a similar situation, perhaps the #ETHANproject is the just the thing you need to help you through the summer!

I’M SO EXCITED that we’ll be visiting America as a family this summer for the first time since we moved to China! I’m looking forward to letting these prompts direct my time with my kids and with my people. I’m hoping this will help remind me to tune into my kids as we travel and are a bit out of our routine, to help me connect with them in the midst of this fun time, as well as during the transition and the challenges of leaving family and friends and coming back to China.

If you don’t have children there’s something here for you too! We can all learn to live with a little more intentionality, learn to better reach out and connect with others, and practice the discipline of “presence”.

Every Friday I’ll be sharing my experience that week as well as introducing the next challenge. I’d love to hear from you about how you lived it out each week, about your experience and stories from your week. Be sure to comment on the Friday post introducing the challenge, or on my Facebook page, by Wednesday and I may feature your story in my post!

You can also join the #ETHANproject Facebook page to hear from other bloggers and participants, and check out the weekly Friday link up page.

Are you interested in becoming an #ETHANproject blogger? Click here for more information.

      As a mom, life goes by so fast and we don't usually get the chance to really enjoy it as it is happening. Sometimes you get so caught up in the dishes and the laundry and the everyday stuff, that you don't see the bigger picture. Take some time every night, or once a week, and just reflect on what you did with your kids, what you think you did right that needs repeating and the things that you would like to change going forward. It doesn't have to take a lot of time, but it does take conscious effort to just reflect on the immediate past and enjoy the here and now a little more. – Kristen from “The Practical Mommy” 



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