Sunday, December 20, 2009

Oxygen Masks and Gas Tanks

The other day my cute friend Tana and I sat out on the side of the local Chevron. It was just after 8am. The kids had just been dropped off at school and we were meeting up for what is becoming a favorite of mine... fountain drinks and a few minutes with two girlies (Tana & Jenn) that I love dearly and don't see often enough!

Our few minutes turned into over an hour! At one point I thought about how great it is that I could just sit and visit. Could have done it all day! It is great to be unemployed, FINALLY!

I had worked as an at-home secretary for my hubby for a few years. My days were filled with answering phones, scheduling service, timesheets, collections, poopy diapers, cleaning house, making dinner...yada yada. With a schedule that tight, I am afraid breathing wasn't an option, let alone chatting with Tana, without a care in the world, because I had no where to be. NO WHERE....Well, at least that I could remember. HOW.... oh HOW does one drop one kid off at school and then carry on without a single thought about the preschooler that would have a bus arrive to pick her up, not even THINK about said bus?! Oh, I remembered. Only about 5 min. from the time the bus was to pick her up. I was 20 min from my house! Needless to say the school was called. She was excused. And we spent the rest of the day carrying out our careless state of mind. Enjoying every second of it! Who needs school on Monday anyway?!

So, back to Tana...We were talking a bit about the purpose of this new blog. My hopes. My drive. My purpose. "Creating a network of women" I told her, "women that support, share, help and inspire each other to be better and try new things." And so on. We talked about the importance of taking care of ourselves so we can be better at whatever we are doing in our lives. Then Tana mentioned something that caused bells to go off in my head! 

Let's call it the "Oxygen Mask" Theory...

You know....on a plane. Stewardess running through the shpeal it seems no one is listening to. Mentions something about oxygen masks, then requests that if you are traveling with a child you need to put your mask on before assisting them. Seems harsh, right?! Totally against our natural instincts. Selfish even. However, by doing so, we give ourselves what is necessary so that we are able to help others. In that situation an adult has just 30 sec. before losing consciousness. Children have much longer. By following that simple counsel, you then give yourself what you need to be the most effective you can be at helping others!

Get where I am going with this? Think about this. How far are you going to get in a vehicle that has an empty gas tank? Not far, right?

Well, my feeling is that we are much the same. There is a lot required of us. A lot we expect from ourselves. Each day is filled with withdrawls from our tank, but what if we never take the time to refill? We are left on empty.

So, how do we fill the tank? How do we apply our Oxygen Mask so that we can go on to make sure we are doing our VERY best for ourselves and those around us?

This is a personal thing. It might be different for each one of us. I remember my hubby's Aunt telling me one day that with 6 small children at home, she knew it was important for her to schedule time just for her. When the kids were tucked into bed, she would settle into her own 30 or so mintues. Just for her. She could do what SHE wanted. She used her time to create. She is SO creative. It felt good to her. She felt refreshed by it. She was filling her tank so that she had plenty to give. By so doing, she maintained a sense of self. In my opinion, by doing this, she has raised some of the greatest people I know. They know the value of taking care of themselves. Serving others. Taking care of their own families. Etc. They knew that their Mother respected and valued herself, and in turn they respect and value her, also. But the magic....each one of them respects and values themselves, because of the example their mother set. She taught them the importance of "filling their own tanks" so they can be their best self and serve everywhere possible. And they do!

We must understnad how important this is. It is impossible to give from an empty source, but when our tank is full, we give freely because we are our best selves!

So, the plan....sit down. Set some goals for yourself. Set time aside. Even 30 min. What do you want to accomplish? Start working toward it. Nothing can stop you! When I am working toward a goal I ALWAYS feel better. Happier. More purpose. I have more patience. I am more kind and loving.

A few things that I am going to work on to "fill my tank":
  • Spend at least 20-30 minutes is meaningful scripture study.
  • Wrap up unfinished craft projects. Start making quilt for Family Room. Learn more about sewing.
  • Work on my running goals. Work up on speed. Start 100 mile challenge!
Just a few, but it's a start! Each day I will schedule each item into my day. Make it a priority.


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