Response to Regret

What do you do with regret?

By virtue of our humanness, none of us gets through life without regrets, be they big, small, or somewhere in between. We will never make the best decision in every circumstance. But just like many things in life, I think that it’s ultimately less about the regret and more about what we do with that.

business care clean clinic

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I had an appointment to have a tooth pulled today and I am not good with any sort of dental event. Not cleaning, not x-rays, none of it. I’ve been trying to analyze why I have such issues with all of this. After all, plenty of people go to the dentist, have x-rays, cleanings, root canals, and the like. Not that people generally love it, but they’re okay with it. The oral surgeon asked about my fears today, too. What exactly am I afraid of?

Obviously pain is on that list. But this same oral surgeon removed all four of my wisdom teeth five years ago and I never had any pain. It went very well. So I don’t even know that pain is the biggest issue. But I do have an overly sensitive gag reflex. I can gag while brushing my teeth. Sometimes I can’t gargle. It’s a challenge for the hygienist to get x-rays. So being tilted back in a chair, mouth wide open for an extended period of time, while a tooth is broken up and removed (it’s a big old molar) was too much for my mental state. I had IV sedation for my wisdom teeth and have opted to go that route for my one molar. Part of me wanted to go ahead and just do it the conventional way with numbing, but I didn’t. So today was just a consultation with another appointment next week.

As I walked out of the office, all I could think was that I’m a big baby and I should’ve just gotten it done. Now I have to wait nearly a week and go through some of the stress again. If I’d have just done it today, it’d be done and over with right now and I could move on. They did have an appointment on Friday, but I have too many things going on this weekend and I didn’t want any of them to be hindered by it.

So I cried and I felt stupid and immature and overly emotional.

And I felt regret.

Not really a great response.

Yet I’m not sure that I could make myself feel any differently or respond any differently. The reality is that my feelings and certain responses aren’t within my control. And isn’t that often what it’s all about? Feeling out of control is awful. It’s weak. It’s frustrating. But I couldn’t muster up the wherewithal to override that stupid gag reflex and my fear about it.

So I was emotional. So I cried. So I postponed this process by six days. Now what?

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

There it is: God’s grace is sufficient – it is enough. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I cannot always be strong. I cannot always be in control. I want to be. But I can’t. And I need to be okay with that. I am supposed to need Jesus. It’s not about my self-sufficiency. It never is.

The second lesson in this is that if I am never weak, never feel like a failure, never have regrets, then I will be utterly unable to relate to others. Nor will they relate to me. Given that relationships are one of the most important things in life, this matters. How will I have compassion and understanding for anyone else if I’ve not felt these difficult emotions? I’m likely to become prideful and think that people should just suck it up and put their feelings aside and do what needs to be done. After all, that’s what I tried to tell myself today.

person s holds brown gift box

Photo by Kim Stiver on Pexels.com

Instead of looking at today’s decision with regret, I think that this is a gift. Maybe not the gift I wanted, but a gift that God chose to give me. If it helps me in my relationships and it was God-delivered, then I will choose to be okay with that.

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How to Declutter Your Inbox, part 2

Yesterday I shared my Fast & Furious method of cleaning out an overflowing inbox. Today I’ll share my more thorough method.

Deep Cleaning – This is actually my favorite way to declutter my inbox. It does take more time, but it’s far more thorough and it has an added bonus. I actually UNSUBSCRIBE from the numerous lists that I don’t care to be on any longer. This will make for a much lighter inbox going forward. Even if I use the first method because my old, not used much, email account has maybe 9,000+ messages (just a hypothetical number, of course!), I will still use part of the Deep Cleaning method to get myself off of those ubiquitous lists.

For this method, I look at the sender of the first message in my list. Let’s say it’s Unicorns R Us (a fictitious company, as far as I know). Maybe I signed up with them earlier this year because my friend’s daughter was having a unicorn-themed birthday and I could get a 50% off coupon for my first (and only, it turns out) order. But somehow, I never got around to UNsubscribing. So I type in “Unicorns R Us” in the search bar and it brings up 37 messages (they send more than one a week!) which I have conveniently skipped over every time I peruse my email.

I click on the first one, scroll to the bottom to locate the unsubscribe option, and click it. If there are further steps in the process, I jump through those hoops, and boom – I’m unsubscribed. I click the back arrow and it returns me to my list of 37 messages. I select them all and delete them. Done and done.

Now I go to the next message. It’s from Goulet Pens (who I love, btw). I search out all of their messages and there are about a dozen. I don’t want to unsubscribe, because I love them after all. I scan the messages and notice that one of them is for an order I placed a couple of days ago. So I still select all the messages, but then I uncheck that particular message so that I can keep it until my order arrives. But I go ahead and delete the rest.

I continue this process through my entire inbox. Yes, it’s a bit time-consuming. Sometimes I have to do it in a couple of chunks. However, I have knocked out THOUSANDS of email messages in a few hours without just blindly deleting everything.

Once I’ve gotten everything cleaned up from the above process, I deal with the few messages that are still left. Sometimes they just need to be filed (according to my own personal system), archived, responded to, or read and deleted. Usually I’ll find that I have fewer than 4-5 messages, if not ZERO. This is such a wonderful feeling, plus it’s much easier to maintain because I’ve gotten off of so many lists.

I’m sure there are other methods out there, but this is what has worked for me for a number of years now. Let me know if you try it, what you think, or if you have a different, yet fantastic method of decluttering your inbox.

How to Declutter Your Inbox, part 1

inboxesI don’t know about the rest of the world, but I have 4 email accounts (actually, there are 1-2 more, but we’re not discussing them today) and sometimes my inboxes get a wee bit out of control. Through the years, I’ve come up with a couple different ways of dealing with the incredibly overflowing inboxes.



Fast & Furious – this method is super fast and works really well for an email account that you don’t use often or gets a lot of junk that you don’t really care much about and you just don’t have the time to sit down and deal with it all.

I chose a particular date in the past, usually about one month back. If I were doing it today (November 19), I would probably go with September 30 (I tend to go in whole month increments. Just because). I would select ALL the messages from September 30th back in time and move them to a new folder I create called “to delete 093018” or something equally clever.

Now that leaves me with one month of messages in my inbox. While it can be a lot, it’s pretty easy to zip through, selecting all that don’t matter, and deleting them. Take a quick peek at the rest, file or delete as needed, and voila! Clean Inbox!!

Oh, that cleverly-named folder you created? In another month (or two or three; whenever you think of it). Just delete the whole thing. You might be wondering why you even created it in the first place. While I don’t like to hang to things I might need, there is a chance that I could need/want something from those previous months since it’s so piled up. So it’s kind of a security blanket, if you will, so that I’ll still be able to find it. And if I never needed anything? Oh well. No harm with holding onto those messages for a couple of extra months. They’d have probably still been floating around in my inbox anyway. Of course, if you like living on the edge and don’t need no stinkin’ safety net, just delete them in the first place and don’t bother with said cleverly-named folder.

Because the second method requires a bit more time, I’m saving that one for tomorrow. What do you do when your inbox is out of control? I’m curious to know how other people handle it.

 

2018 Update. So Far.

I just read my Happy 2018 post and a) that was already 4 months ago. Wow. And b) it seemed like an update to that might be a good place to start with my renewed desire to blog. Which hopefully turns into something more than once every few months.

  1. Small shifts. I’ve seen the shifts begin to take root. Probably the biggest one is that I’m not going to just quit stuff because it doesn’t go well like I used to. My mindset is more along the lines of “just get back to it” when I make poor choices. In the past, I was far more likely to throw my hands up and give up. But I’m recognizing that whatever good changes I want to make in my life need to be for the duration of my life. It’s not a short sprint with a quick finish line. So I have to just keep coming back over and over and over again.
  2. Power Sheets – I rocked them in January. Not so much in February. Or March. Or April. And now that I think about it, May is in the not so much category as well. It was super helpful to use the Tending Sheet and maybe I’ll start that back up again. Or maybe not. Part of the mindset shift is figuring out what works and letting go of what doesn’t.
  3. While Flourish is the word, it’s kind of been sitting on the back burner. Maybe Perseverance is more appropriate. However, I also think that flourishing will happen as I persevere. So maybe they’re actually joined and the flourishing will begin to show up. I know I’ll be watching for it.
  4. The house. Well, I’ve been keeping it up a little better than in the past. Sometimes. I can still use some help here. I was recently thinking that instead of splitting all the chores up throughout the week that I might just take care of the entire house in one day. Then I don’t really have to think about it so much the other six days. Maybe that’s a better system for me. We’ll see. It’s also a good thing we paid some bills off since January – April was a much slower season with much smaller paychecks for my sweet husband.
  5. Cathy Zielske’s Fit 2018 course. I haven’t exactly followed along with the tracking and everything, although I still keep up a bit in the closed Facebook group. However, I have joined Weight Watchers (for the umpteenth time, but that’s not important). The Freestyle program is actually super easy to follow, especially with tracking via the app. In almost 3 months, I’ve lost 13 pounds and I’m really good with that. It’s nothing crazy fast, but I didn’t put the extra weight on crazy fast, either. My water intake has improved a lot. And I’m walking. A lot. So in relation to #1 above, when I choose things that aren’t the best for me (like the 41 point Salted Caramel Milkshake at Smashburger!), I just keep coming back to the program and the tracking. No matter how many times it takes.

There are plenty of other things going on, but this is good for now. And that will give me material for future posts. Posts in May. Of this year, even. What a concept.

And Smashburger’s Salted Caramel Milkshake with Haagen-Daaz ice cream? Dead to me.

long and short hair

Oh yeah. I also got my hair cut short again. Shorter than I really wanted, but that way I could donate it. And it grows fast, so it’ll be where I want it before long.

 

Minor Irritants

Yep, a rant is in order. And I know, this is nothing of major importance in the whole scheme of life. Totally a first world problem. But it’s one of those stupid little thing that is super annoying and I often let this type of thing mess up my day and waste my time. Ugh.

I signed up with an online company  for a monthly club wherein I will get a box of paper crafting/journaling goodies each month. The first month was majorly discounted, so I thought it was a good opportunity. My package was in the hands of UPS on Wednesday. It showed an estimated arrival date of Tuesday, February 13th. Okay, cool.

I checked the tracking on Monday (yeah, a silly compulsion) only to discover that it had been handed off to the USPS (I hate that gig, btw. It never seems to go well!). Not only did the US Postal Service now have it, it was already out for delivery on Monday, February 12th – a whole entire day early! Shocker. Usually that transition means the package will be a day or two later than the original date. But it never arrived. Sigh. Fine. It’ll be here Tuesday, which was my originally anticipated date anyway.

Tuesday comes and no package.

IMG_8102 mailbox-xsm

So here we are on Wednesday (yes, it’s only ONE WHOLE DAY past the estimated arrival date) and the mail arrived early (yippee!) with NO PACKAGE. What the heck?

I go online to investigate a bit further and here is what the USPS website shows for tracking information.

February 12, 2018, 6:27 pm 
No Access
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO 80XXX
We attempted to deliver your item at 6:27 pm on February 12, 2018 in COLORADO SPRINGS, CO 80XXX but could not complete the delivery because the employee did not have access to the delivery location. Your item will go out for delivery on the next business day.

What is that supposed to mean? We live in a house. We have a mailbox. We have a front door. At no time does the postal worker have NO ACCESS TO THE DELIVERY LOCATION. In fact, I was here at 6:27 pm and there was no attempted delivery, no ring of the doorbell, nothing. But that was Monday. It will be out for delivery on the next business day.

NOT.

And NOT the NEXT business day, either.

However, I can do nothing at all. Not a cotton-picking thing.

Unless my package has been missing for 30 days, the post office won’t even consider this an issue.

Since UPS handed it off to the USPS, they’ll be of no help.

And the company I ordered from? They won’t consider it missing for 30 days, either. And since it’s a monthly subscription kit, it’s not like these are regularly stocked items. And if they’re out of stock, they’ll refund my money. Well that pretty much bites. By the time 30 days passes, it’s very likely they won’t have any more of them. GRRR. So the reason I joined the club will be completely negated.

Happy 2018

There have been so many things flying around in my head as we move into 2018.

1. Biblically, the number seven represents completion. The number eight represents new beginnings. In many ways, I feel like 2018 is going to be different. During 2017 there were a number of small shifts in my life and I think they’ll impact my 2018.

One big shift that I am really enjoying is that I’ve been able to spend more time just being creative. Not always to a specific end, just creating. Some art journaling, a bit of mixed media, some fun memory keeping and journaling in my traveler’s notebooks, and hand lettering, to name a few. Of course, spending less time on social media has definitely contributed to this. As does having a cleaner room/studio/space. I never really know what to call this room. I do all the things in here. In fact, some days I pretty much live there, minus a few trips to the kitchen and bathroom.

2. I can’t say that I’ve been sad or in a bad place starting other years, but I think I’ve always felt like I’d made no progress in the previous year; that I was in the exact same place. It probably wasn’t always true, but as humans we’re so prone to notice the negative. This year, however, I’m much more hopeful and excited to see what God has in store.

I don’t like to set New Year’s resolutions as they’re usually just a big guilt-inducing bust. But I did buy Power Sheets for the 2016 year and only ended up doing the prep work. So I picked them back up in October and since not much had really changed in terms of goals and desires, I’m going with what I have along with a little tweaking.

3. In recent years, I’ve picked a word (or words) for the year. This year my word is Flourish and it’s turning up everywhere – in Scriptures, on my Starbucks cup ornament (long before I chose the word), and other places. Just one of many ways I see God’s Spirit weaving little details of my life together.

4. We finished 2017 with our house in better shape than it’s been probably since we moved in. We’ve gotten rid of a lot of things and there’s more to go, but it’s really great to have some breathing room at home. We also were able to get a few bills paid off and others paid down, so financially we’re in a better place. Neither the house nor the finances are completely where we’d like, but both got a boost, which further motivates me to keep pressing on to more progress.

5. I signed up for Cathy Zielske’s FIT 2018. While I didn’t accomplish a lot last year, the one thing that did change is that I actually drink water now. Not always as much as I should, but I do drink it regularly. For a girl whose veins flowed Dr Pepper for many years, that’s huge. No, the Dr Pepper isn’t gone, but it’s decreased quite a bit. So let’s see what I can accomplish this year.

Overall, I just feel more hopeful, purposeful, and motivated about the new year than I have in the past. It’s an exciting place to be.

 

Lost Control at the Car Wash

After a drive in the mountains yesterday morning and another one out in the country to the Paint Mines last night, my car was pretty filthy. So I made a quick jaunt to the very busy automatic car wash. I never want to be very close to the car in front of me and I don’t want the one behind me to be close. It freaks me out. And though it’s a quick ride through, I don’t want to hold my breath all the way through.

I put my car in neutral and made sure all the windows were tightly closed and the rollers took their position under my tires and slid my little Rogue through the neon-lit shower tunnel. As foam began to scroll down my window, obscuring all visibility, I thought how it’s a little like my walk with God. I don’t really have control of my life and I can’t really see what’s ahead nor how far away anything is. But God knows exactly where I am, how far I am from all the things, and when to apply the soap, spray the rinse water, add the spotless clear coat, or activate the dryers. Because He knows just what I need and when I need it. It doesn’t matter whether or not I can see those needs. I just need to trust Him.

And at the end? I get to come out clean and shiny!

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20-21