Positive Portfolio / Abundance

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In my last post (ahem, in March) I talked about starting a “positive portfolio” series, you can read more about what that is here. Today I’m compiling my first portfolio and the subject I’ve chosen is abundance. What does it really mean to live an abundant life? What does it require? What IS abundance? Here goes:

In true elementary-school-report-writing fashion, let’s start with a definition.

Abundance:
“plentifulness of the good things of life; prosperity.”

Notice the definition does not mention money. It says only “the good things in life.” Here are some of mine.

  • Getting Charlie from his crib in the morning. Even when it’s early it’s sweet to open his door and see him standing at the edge of his crib waiting for me.
  • Waking up slow on the weekends. Hanging out in bed as a family and deciding what we’re going to do that day.
  • Books, podcasts, magazines.
  • FRIENDS. Long talks. Drinks. Laughing until my face hurts.
  • Music: listening, playing, watching, discussing.
  • Pouring a cup of coffee after putting Charlie down for his morning nap, and knowing I have (usually) an hour to myself.
  • Writing: journal entries, prayers, blog posts, hand written cards.
  • Art.
  • My Mom and Dad
  • Texting daily with my sisters. Checking in with each other, supporting one another, and sharing the same dark sense of humor.
  • Brent. Marriage. True partnership and companionship. Being so mad you can feel your blood boiling one second and then laughing literally the next. Building something important even when we don’t feel like it (especially when we don’t feel like it). Parenting together. Loving someone, serving someone, being loved despite how terrible I can be sometimes. I could go on. Marriage is muddy, complex, and beautiful.
  • Netflix marathons
  • Seeing/feeling/hearing God in my life. The times when peace descends and goosebumps happen. When things are too coincidental to be coincidences.
  • Stretching, moving, walking.
  • Nature. Seeing the clouds move and change shape, noticing all the shades of green in the trees, watching water move endlessly but never in the same pattern twice, hearing the birds and watching them dance around each other. Even some bugs are pretty amazing if they’re not touching me. But never mosquitos.
  • Rest. Sleep. Unplugging. Slowing down.

This letterpress print by artist Kayla Gale. This simple image represents such a beautiful and abundant time of life for some women. It signifies so many quiet and special moments…and reminds me of how hard I worked to have this experience.

This song. The Beach Boys will always remind me of childhood and my dad. This song specifically reminds me of watching Never Been Kissed a million times with my sisters. And it also reminds me of when Brent and I first started dating. We made mix CDs for each other…(so cliche but also a really good indicator of your compatibility IMHO) and I added this song to the end of the cd as a hidden track. It had the effect I hoped for, and we’ve been married for 5+ years. It’s our song even though he doesn’t race cars or whatever.

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These faces. This is Charlie with his brother, Ashen. Brent’s oldest is 20 years older than Charlie and he is the kindest, sweetest, most resilient kid. I just love both of these boys so much and am so grateful for all the things they have taught me. I think before kids I didn’t really understand what people meant when they said that their kids were their greatest teachers…but now I think I’m starting to get it. It’s because you lose your patience, let them down, and just generally fail at a lot of things, and they love you anyway and it makes you want to be better.

Ok. I don’t want to ramble on, and if you’ve made it this far I appreciate that. I keep thinking of really good things to add to my list and my heart is bursting, but I’ll rein it in.

I decided to focus on abundance because quite honestly it’s a struggle for me. My life is not perfect, and I so often focus on lack. I always seem to have a running list of things I need (and don’t have). Situations I want changed. Ways in which my life is not quite good enough. We all do it. So if you’re feeling down or like you don’t have enough lately…I encourage you to take some time and create your own portfolio of abundance. I think it’s a practice we all know works but rarely actually DO. And it really does help! What’s on your list?

“Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other.” -Ann Voskamp

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Positive Portfolio Series

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I’ve recently started to feel like the fog of new motherhood has been lifting. Or maybe I’ve just made up my mind to beat it back, clear the air, rise above it…whatever you do to a fog? One small part of this means that I’m trying to intentionally start my days on a positive note…and focus on the good things in my life all throughout the day. This is hard. Really hard. And it takes practice. I am not naturally good at this, and so I thought starting a new blog series might be a good way to work on this skill and create a little focus.

After having Charlie I decided to quit my job and stay home to be with him. Money is very tight, but we’re making it work, and I’m so thankful to be able to be with him all day. However, going from working full time to being home full time with a baby was quite the change. I felt lonely and isolated. I ended up making a new mom friend (heyyy, Tricia!) who has a little girl who is close in age to Charlie. We met through an app called Peanut, hah, which is basically Tinder for moms. If you’re a mom and feel like you need a friend I recommend trying it out! Anyway – Tricia studied Positive Psychology in grad school and I was recently introduced to the idea of a “Positive Portfolio” through her blog. She describes a Positive Portfolio as this:

There is an intervention in positive psychology called a “positive portfolio” In this intervention; you gather items that support an element of well-being you wish to enhance. It can be any element of well-being – meaning, joy, awe, gratitude, relationships, achievement, etc… Once you have gathered these items, you then spend some time reflecting on your positive portfolio bolstering the element of well-being selected.

One way she creates positive portfolios is through music playlists – combining many different songs that all support one element (joy, hope, etc). I love the idea of taking time to create multi-faceted positive portfolios in my life. For example, joy for me is currently encompassed by taking care of Charlie…but also by writing, drawing, playing music, having good conversations with friends, dreaming up new business ideas, prayer, etc. I’m a whole person, and being a mom is only one part of who I am.

The first few years of a child’s life are intense for the caretaker. Babies grow and learn so quickly, but they’re entirely dependent on you for everything. It’s very easy to let everything fall to the background and have your role as “mom” make up 99% of your day. And again, I don’t resent this. In my last post I mentioned that it’s really fine that I’m exhausted right now, and it’s fine that most of my day is dedicated to Charlie. This is the season I’m in and there are so many wonderful things about it, and truly so much joy. But there’s also nap times, and friends and family who are willing to help, and I’m ready to start bringing some pieces of who I am back to the forefront. And I’m ready to spend time creating, writing, and dreaming again.

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Working on positive portfolios seems like a good way to start. I love that I can dedicate an entire “portfolio” to the concept of awe if I want to, and what it means to me. I love that I can spend time trying to cultivate more awe in my life and hopefully pass my wonder, excitement, and curiosity on to my child. It will force me to stop and pay attention – and therefore be in the moment. I definitely need to practice that more, and to practice putting my phone down. I’m hoping that having a project to focus on will help in that regard.

I hope to start this coming week on my first “portfolio” – I’m not sure what I’ll focus on first yet, if you have suggestions let me know. And if you decide to create your own I’d love to hear about it. ❤

Yours,

Marci