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It’s safe to say that the Johnson house has never been such a hot mess. I’m talking 6 piles of laundry; some clean and some soaking wet with a combination of sweat from dear husband’s noontime run and the morning Bikram yoga class I taught. There’s at least 5 pounds of beach sand embedded into the hallway runner along with dried grass clippings and tuffs of dog hair. The fruit flies that have descended upon the bathroom trash can are treating the banana peel I threw away on Thursday like an object of art at Burning Man. The living room floor is a war zone of Monopoly money and plastic Stratego pieces (I lost both games by the way to my 7 year old!)  And to top it off, school starts tomorrow. There’s school supplies to gather and a lunchbox to locate. My mother-in-law is texting me telling me she is excited to see pictures. On the eve of this hallowed night it is easy to be overwhelmed. To look around at the mess and think, “Holy hell. Where do I start?!”

Enter my almost six year old into the room as I’m writing. He is stark naked and carrying around a purple lightsaber. Damn, isn’t life good!? If only Yoda knew 😉 He picks up the wrapper to my empty 100 calorie pack of Emerald cashews that I was snacking on earlier today.

“Can I have a snack Mommy?”

“Sure buddy. Help yourself. Whatever you want. Go for it.”

Said child heads for his bedroom to play. Guess he didn’t really want a snack.

Back to the present situation. It’s 5:30 pm. Enter 2nd child. He’s also naked. Apparently clothes are overrated. He wants to know what’s for dinner. Mac and cheese dude. It’s what keeps you sane (read: it’s what keeps you from whining). It’s now 5:37 pm and I’ve lost 7 minutes of my life.

Back to the whole point of this post. Where do I start? I start with what matters most – me. Not the kids, not the house, and certainly not dinner (thank you Jesus for takeout). I tune in. I don’t have to listen long to recognize what I’m longing to do. I fire up the laptop and I start to type. I gaze out on the lawn at the soft and stunning evening light that is trickling in through the trees. Photographers call this the Golden Hour or the Magic Hour. I could not agree more. There’s just something about this time of day, when you can relax into and reflect upon the light, that makes your heart content. Tonight, even amidst the hot mess, I am content.

We have to start with ourselves. We have to shift our mindset and make a conscious choice to ignore messages that choosing ourself is selfish. Take some gosh darn responsibility for your reality. Make a change. Do the things YOU want to do; not the things you think you should do. Not the things your parents, your spouse, or your kids want you to do. You want to lay on the couch and read a book in the middle of the day? Good for you! DO IT. You want to take a girl’s trip? Great! DO IT. Do what feeds your soul. Do what lights you up. Everyone else around you will secretly thank you because when we do the things we truly want to be doing we become a nicer mom, a better friend, a more present wife, and most importantly a human being able to serve our fellow kind.

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