I wanted to write a quick post just to make sure everyone knows I'm still here! Since having our fourth child in February, it's been pretty tough to find time to write anything. My time has been filled with swimming, baseball, softball, maintaining my house, a Baptism and First Communion on the same day, a 2nd Grade field trip to a museum, Cub Scout activities, rock climbing with the kids, the Detroit Whisky Festival, a piano recital, and even my first 5K of the year. Not to mention I have a job to go to every day and I'm still constantly removing things from my house.
A couple weeks ago, our sump pump stopped working right after a weekend of heavy rain. It was by far the most water we've had in our basement in the 14 years we've lived here. Nothing was ruined but we had so much stuff stored downstairs that I took a bunch of it to the garage just so I could move some other things off the wet carpet. It was motivation to purge so I wouldn't have to carry it all back downstairs. I sold a set of three heavy wood bar stools on Facebook and posted a couple other items for free just to get rid of them. Now I have a plumbing job ahead of me to replace the sump pump and install a backup system.
As you can see I've been too busy to do much writing but I have gained a few new email subscribers. Welcome! If you are getting emails but haven't followed me on Facebook, please do. Likewise, if you aren't receiving emails, you can subscribe just by putting your email in the form below. Also, if you ever have a question, comment, suggestion, or just want to say hi, you can email me at Dave@DaveLubke.com or send me a message with Facebook messenger.
Finally, I have one small request. If you happen to be on my website, take a look to the left side of your screen. You should see a small rectangle that says "Reviews" with a green check mark next to it. Please take a second to click on that and then click on the stars to rate me. If you have benefited from my website in any way, I would love it if you left a short review (preferably a good one and 4 or 5 stars). This just lets others know that my website is a safe site that can be trusted and that it's not some sort of scam or phishing website.
Thanks for reading and rest assured I have a few posts already in the works and plan to get back into a regular posting routine very soon.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been reading more about happiness lately and trying to put into practice some of the things I’m learning. I recently finished the book Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin and I’m looking forward to reading some of her other books on the subject. I liked the approach of Happier At Home where she dedicated each month to a specific aspect of life to focus on improving her happiness.
She began in September which sounds odd except that she has two school age daughters. Like most parents, watching your kids go off to school each fall feels a lot more like a new stage in life than January 1st ever does.
The topics Gretchen chose for this project were:
As she goes through each month, she echoes a lot of the lessons learned in her earlier book, The Happiness Project. I admit I wish I would have read that first but it’s not absolutely necessary. She reviews many of those lessons and what she calls “The Eight Splendid Truths” about happiness whenever they apply. There is also a section at the end of the book listing them all together in more detail.
Two of my favorites were truth number 3 and 6. They are great words to live by.
A few other nuggets I pulled from Happier At Home were ideas she had like celebrating holiday breakfasts with your family. Some holidays like Valentine’s Day are difficult to celebrate as a family but she realized they generally were all together at breakfast. She went all out for fancy breakfasts with decorations for several holidays. That doesn’t work for everyone but it’s a cool idea.
I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a happier person after reading the book but Gretchen definitely lays out a lot of ideas for you to think about. Remember, I write these posts as much for myself as I do for others. I know darn well I need to keep reminding myself of the two Truths above when I get so frustrated with my kids. It’s a process, maybe you could call it a journey even, but I don’t think happiness is necessarily a destination. It takes work and positive thinking.
There will always be good and bad times, and different aspects of your life to focus on. The monthly topics listed above may not be the same topics you or I would choose to focus on right now, but in a section at the end, she encourages everyone to embark on their own unique happiness project.
Good luck with yours.
It Takes A Village
They say it takes a village to raise a child but in our case, it takes a village just to give birth to one. We can’t thank everyone enough for everything they have done or even offered to do for us over the past weeks. And the outpouring continues.
The last nine months have been a whirlwind as we prepared for having our fourth child. She’s one of the greatest surprises ever. Keeping our sanity through just the preparation and birth though, wouldn’t have been possible without so many generous friends and family.
Since she was born a week later than expected, we spent a few weeks constantly coordinating plans with friends to handle all of the activities our other three kids have going on. It’s been one message after another of “well, if it happens on this day so-and-so can get this kid to their activity and this other person can bring them home”. Even after the birth we are still making those plans so my wife won’t have to leave the house with a newborn in the midst of one of the worst flu seasons in decades.
The day she was born, I made three trips home from the hospital. That night, I came home exhausted (certainly not as exhausted as my wife was though). I sat down to enjoy a glass of Scotch to celebrate my new addition to the family and do some writing.
I looked at everything that needed to be done at home and felt like I should do the dishes and shovel the snow in the driveway. Instead, I keep reminding myself how important it is to enjoy this time and get the whole family to appreciate the miracle of it all. There will always be something that needs to be done but it’s a good reminder that if we have less stuff, there will be less to do.
Now we’re all home with little Maggie and trying to get into some sort of routine. She was unexpected but is greatly loved. If God is going to throw me a curve-ball in my forties, this is as good as it gets.
There’s something I kept catching myself doing in the hospital though that really bothered me. I wanted to tell everyone the great news so I sent out text messages and emails. Then, I found myself sitting there with this beautiful new baby in one arm but looking at my phone trying to respond to all the attention I was getting. I suddenly felt ashamed for ignoring my daughter for my phone. As if the most important thing I needed to be doing at that moment was responding to text messages and emails.
I told myself how stupid that was and to focus on her instead. I had to keep forcing myself to put my phone down and stare at her. Then I would hear my phone buzz again and I had to see who it was from. I decided that I have to pay more attention to those around me and less attention to my phone.
That is one of the primary reasons to live with less stuff. We all need to spend less time handling all the distractions that keep us from what is really important.
Thanks for reading but now do yourself a favor. Put down your phone or tablet, close your laptop up, and take a look at your spouse, your kids, your friend, or whoever is around you waiting for your attention. Spend some time with them now before you miss something.
Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2017