Getting Off Track…

I started this blog excited to be pursuing my creative urge to write, study, photograph, and share. I still am excited about it, but life keeps getting in the way and I haven’t been able to post as often as I would’ve liked. I know that we all only have 24 hours a day. I know that I need 9 hours of sleep a night and that I have a lot of responsibilities. But instead of taking things OFF of my plate, I feel like I just keep ADDING new things on to an already full load. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

Earlier this year I wrote a post about time management and a practice I had been doing to make sure that I kept my life in check with what was important to me. Unlike my other posts, I went back to it many times. I edited it and changed it and finally just decided not to post it as it wasn’t in my voice and it didn’t seem to fit in.

And then I abandoned that practice.

I stopped intentionally looking at how I spent my time and instead kept filling it up and up and up and up until I hit overwhelm and had to step back and examine how best to move forward.

What actually happened was an old major love of mine (the sport of beach tennis!), came back into my life after having been done for 10 years. Suddenly I could play again and had a Pro Tour and ANOC World Beach Games to train for. I upped my fitness time and began training on court and in the gym, traveling to tournaments and promoting and organizing a “new” sport. Meanwhile I still had my already busy life as mom, wife, friend, board member, volunteer, writer, etc.  It’s no wonder things got hectic as I tried to fit in way more than I had time for.

A tournament we hosted as we set out to grow the sport in San Diego…
Lisa, my sister, and I competing at an ITF Pro Tournament in Hermosa Beach.
Happy to be back on the sand with my sis!

But the truth is I am still struggling to choose what it is that I want to focus on and prioritize. I still want to dedicate myself to my kids, to my husband, to my blog, to my sport, to my community. But I really cannot do it all. I definitely cannot do it all to the level that I would want to. So, what do I do? How do I move forward? I guess I’d say I need to prioritize, but that sounds so uninspiring! I am thankful that I have so many fun things calling to me, but I need to be real with myself about what is most important to me right now.

Which ironically goes back to my old practice of intentionally planning my time around my values and priorities. Looks like I need to reread my old post and see what I think of it now! And then write a new one to share what I learned from giving up that practice and starting it again.

The funny, not so funny, thing is, I remember thinking and writing that life is wild and keeps on throwing things at us all the time. If we don’t stop to think about what is important to us we can get off track just doing what shows up, instead of actively creating the life we want to live by design.

So back to the drawing board! Stay tuned…. More to come.

PS- Before posting this entry, I actually edited and posted my original article on intentional living called How to Fill Your Life with What’s Important to You. If you missed it, you can find it HERE. Meanwhile I have been re-evaluating my priorities and planning my time again according to the post!

Here are some helpful questions you can use to help you journal/brainstorm what you want to create in your life:

What’s Most Important to you?

What do you do (how do you spend your time and free time)?

What do you want to do more of?

What do you want to do less of?

What are some things you would like to plan in to create your intentionally-designed life?

How to Fill Your Life with What’s Important to You

How to Fill Your Life with What’s Important to You & Your Family

6 Steps to Make the Most of Your Time

Time flies when you are having fun- or maybe just time flies! And if time flies, I certainly want to make sure to fill it up with the things that are important to me and my family. I don’t know about you, but I feel like we are always super busy. I feel like we have a million things to do and a million more that I would want to do if I just had more time!

Clearly there’s no way to add more time to the day. So, I started to think about what I could do to maximize my time and make sure I was using it wisely. That led me to try something new. I pinpointed our priorities and made a concerted effort to plan weekly activities to fulfill them.I call it intentional living, but I guess it is more like intentional planning. The planning is the key element as it takes the week on a whole and fills it with meaningful activities, rather than just attempting to complete a never ending to do list.

Take a minute to think about what you are already doing. Where do you spend your free time? Do those activities fill you up or leave you drained? Do you feel guilty about what you are doing (or not doing?) Do you get sad when people say things like “enjoy it while you have it” and “they grow up so fast! “ (I hope I can remember to never actually say that to anyone when I am older!)

If we choose to be intentional in how we use our time, we can look back and be proud, knowing that we filled our family’s free time with the things we value.  We can be proud that we took advantage of the time we had when our kids were at each age, because we thought about what we wanted for them and for our families and planned accordingly!

Here’s how to get started

1. FIGURE OUT YOUR FAMILY’S PRIORITIES!

First you have to figure out what your family’s priorities actually are. Some ideas include health, marriage, family time, fitness, friends, spirituality/religion, learning/personal growth, children, hobbies, volunteering, travel, community, careers, and education. There are lots of choices- so be sure to take some time to consider actually is important to you, not just what you think is supposed to be important!

2. PLAN ACTIVITIES EACH WEEK THAT FULFILL THOSE PRIORITIES

Once you know what is important to you and your family, then you can brainstorm activities that fulfill each area. Once you have some possibilities you can start planning them into your actual calendar. For example, my family values fun so I try to plan at least one playdate each week. I also try to get together with my friends at least once a week (while the kids are in school or at night). Another example for me is I try to get to the beach once a week to satisfy either peace/rest/nature time or health/fitness if I make an active trip like a run, surf, beach tennis, etc.

3. FIND WAYS TO COMBINE YOUR PRIORITIES WITH YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES

In addition to just adding activities into your free time, you can also try to find ways to sneak aspects of what you prioritize into the things you have to do. You can’t escape your responsibilities (like your job, driving kids to school, doing laundry, cleaning the house, etc.) but you can find ways to make them more enjoyable. For example, if you value education, creativity, self-growth or learning, you can clean the house while you listen to your favorite podcasts. Or if you value dance or fitness you can clean while listening to fun upbeat songs that get you dancing along to your dusting. Those can be blended with health easily too if you listen to either while you cook or exercise. You can add either of those to school drop offs as well and find some fun kids’ podcast to get your kids excited about learning too.

4. SCHEDULE THE ACTIVITIES!

Take the time to schedule your important activities into your calendar. Maybe even start a family calendar where you can write it all down for everyone to see (if you haven’t done that already.) As a bonus, once you write it on an actual calendar it’s easier to see if your schedule is balanced or not. Keep in mind, you might not be able to fit everything you want into each week. Whatever doesn’t fit is either lower on the priority list or something to start with for the next week.

5. REVISIT YOUR ORIGINAL PRIORITIES

After some time has passed it’s a good idea to revisit your original priority list and make sure it is really true to what you want. Maybe you thought you valued super fitness but realize that you actually value family time more since your kids are little and you want to soak up the time with them. It is ok to change it up. It is one thing to want a six-pack, but it is another thing to actually be willing to do what it takes to achieve one. Also, the more priorities you have the harder it may be to get them all in. Therefore, you may have to trim down your list or get real with yourself about what really is important. Use your list and scheduling to feel good and fulfilled at the end of each week and adjust as needed along the way.

6. PLAN FOR DOWNTIME

Don’t forget to plan for downtime! With the endless activities available today and the never-ending to do lists, sometimes the thing missing is rest. It was a little bit of a surprise for me, a total extrovert, when I realized something I would like more of is peace and calm, aka downtime! So, I make sure to leave some free time and I also plan a beach day or afternoon as an opportunity to slow down and connect with nature. I also like to read, write and take it easy.

But what about if you are not a planner? What if this is just too much scheduling for you? I get it, though I might challenge you by saying you do keep some kind of schedule. I suppose if you don’t like to keep a calendar just the act of thinking about your priorities and how you spend your time can be helpful and maybe it will help keep that stuff at the top of your mind where you are more apt to do things to meet them. But I would also challenge you to try this method for a month and see how it feels. Maybe the act of planning based on how you want to spend your time will feel better and more palatable.

In anticipation of the holiday season that is upon us, I challenge myself and everyone who reads this to take the time to think about what priorities you have for yourself and your family and talk to them about it too. Then keep up with scheduling in time for your priorities. Fight the hectic holiday pace with planned important activities. Hopefully by having an empowering context and choosing activities that align with your family’s priorities, we can stay more grounded and calm in end of year and into the future.

Let me know your thoughts along the way. I’d love to hear how this intentional living and planning makes a difference for you!

New Beginnings

A few months ago I read a book by one of my favorite authors, Leeanna Tankersley. I saw her speak many years ago at a Writer’s Conference I attended and when she appeared again years later at my MOPS (Mothers of Preschool Children) group, I truly enjoyed listening to her stories and soaking in any advice that spoke to me. So, when she was about to release her newest book, Begin Again, I convinced my bible study group that we had to choose her book.

New Beginnings. Even just saying that conjures up a lot of imagery and emotion. Sometimes new beginnings are exciting and energizing. Other times they are scary and stressful- and everything in between.

I am in the midst of a new beginning in my life right now that is extremely exciting and totally unexpected. Imagine if college or high school was one of the best times in your life, and now you somehow had the opportunity to do it again, but in this stage of your life. Ok, maybe that sounds confusing, but that’s exactly what it felt like for me.

In the mid 2000’s, my sister and I discovered a new sport called Beach Tennis and we began to compete on the pro tour. It was amazing how it all happened. It was a whirlwind few years as we traveled around the best beaches in the US, made an appearance on the Today Show, and even competed as the first American team at the World Championships in Italy.

We had a ball, but it seemed like that era was over. The organization that was putting it on in the US stopped holding tournaments, so we just counted our blessings for the time we had and moved on to other adventures, like getting married and having kids.

Then in October 2018 my husband and I went to Pacific Beach to celebrate our 9-year anniversary and we stumbled across the PB Beach Fest (which is funny because we often go to a neighborhood and end up there on their festival day even though we’d often prefer to be there with less crowds!) But in this case, it was a serendipitous occurrence, because as we strolled down the boardwalk, I peered down at the sand and saw it! A beach tennis tournament was going on, just like the ones we had played in so many years ago!

My heart started racing and we went down to check it out. Not only was the tournament going on, but a lot of old faces of people I knew from LA where there. An old friend was MC’ing the event, just like old times! My former mixed doubles partner was playing a match and another old friend was there to greet me! I took in the scene with such déjà vu and raw excitement. I was introduced to the two ladies who are running the effort to grow Beach Tennis in San Diego. I learned that in October 2019 San Diego will be hosting the ANOC World Beach Games and Beach Tennis will be a featured event. I was stunned!

Now I have the opportunity to help grow Beach Tennis in San Diego and bring the fun and excitement of this worldwide sport to my community. I also have people to play with and I am planning on competing again!

This new beginning is very exciting and also a little bit scary. I am in a totally different phase of my life than I was last time I was in this world. I have two little children, a husband, and lots of responsibilities and considerably less free time. I want to help bring this game to San Diego and more of the US, but I am pretty full already!

But that is how it is with new beginnings. There is an unknown that sometimes is hard to sit with. It is especially hard for me because I consider myself a planner. I want to know how it will go. I want to be able to accomplish all of my dreams. But what if I have too many dreams? Then what?

Maybe I am just a perfectionist and I have to relax and release what I think it should all look like. Wouldn’t that be great to just let it all go and take life as it comes, one day at a time, one moment at a time, totally present? I want to recapture the freedom I felt in my younger days when there was so much possibility in my future. Just because I am married and a mom, that doesn’t mean my adventure is over, right? Of course, it’s not. My adventure is even bigger now because it includes my whole family too. But I need to stay on track and be present and stop worrying about the future or living in the past.

I need to listen to Tankersley when she writes, “Every day, we begin again.” She shares such inspiring and entertaining stories in all of her books. In Begin Again, she says years ago the words of a Benedictine monk stuck with her, “always we begin again.” She was living in the Middle East on base with her husband when they had their first children, boy girl twins. I can only imagine what that must’ve felt like. I remember feeling confused and undone after the emergency C-section birth of my firstborn, but I was living in the US and only had one baby to tend to! None-the-less, those words stuck with her and she was drawn to them years later as she wrote this book.

You have to read it for yourself, but a few things stood out to me. The first is that every new beginning happens after an ending. And endings can hurt. I’ve been a mom for 6 years now, but sometimes I still miss all the free time I had before having kids. I always wanted kids and adore having them as they bring a whole new level of love and joy to my life. But it still marks the end of an era (and so far, sleeping through the night consistently too!) So, if a new beginning comes after an end, it is important to grieve the end. You can appreciate it for what it provided you and then embrace the new gifts your present offers.

Another thing that stood out was when Tankersley said that walls are doors. How awesome a context is that? You come to something that feels like a wall… You butt up right against it and feel stuck, trapped even. But you can transform that wall into a door. You can open it up and begin again. You can create something new. To me that sounds like a freedom and a treasure, to be able to get beyond whatever troubles are trapping you. Sure, there will be grief over the ending and perhaps trepidation about the new beginning, but there will also be a new found ability to create and start fresh.

Taking on new beginnings can be scary and sometimes we cling to what we have even though we know it’s not right. She tells the best story of how her landscaper wanted to remove one tree from the entrance to her house. Originally she had two trees flanking the sides of the entrance to her home, a pair. But this one is dead, he told her. Yet she still wanted to hold onto it. She says often we’d rather hold on to the known than step into the unknown. But in doing so we can miss out on the beauty. In her case with the dead tree, once it was removed, it highlighted the beautiful gazebo in the background. What beauty is awaiting us when we have the courage to take the next step?

A couple weekends ago I was lucky enough to attend an event that was all about new beginnings and it featured Leeanna Tankersely live on video chat. She was awesome as usual. She said she had recently discovered that scared easily changes to sacred and in doing so it invites God into her life. She also said that you’ll know when you need to know. I really like that as an opportunity to slow down and have faith in the process. New beginnings are just that, new. Taking moment by moment and enjoying the journey is the best way to do life. Sure, you can plan and work hard, but to experience the current moment in all its glory or pain is to be alive.

This week I will be off to my first beach tennis tournament in 10 years. I cannot wait to officially begin this next chapter. What new beginning are you creating in your life?

For more info on Beach Tennis:

Like Us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/themaloneysisters/

Beach Tennis San Diego: https://www.facebook.com/beachtennis.sandiego.3

International Beach Tennis (ITF): https://www.itftennis.com/beachtennis/home.aspx

For more info on Leeana Tankersley:

http:www.leeanatankersley.com

Tankersely, Leeanna. Begin Again. Revell, 2018.

Being Vulnerable

Why is it easier to be vulnerable with strangers than the people we know? Why do we fear being judged by people even when we are adults? What if we stood up in courage and did what we wanted and what we felt drawn to do even if we were afraid of what other people might think?

Years ago, I did many leadership trainings and now I am reminded of one thing they taught us. Everyone is just trying to look good for everyone else. Meaning you are trying to look good for me and I am trying to look good for you. Maybe we can just drop all the trying and instead just be ourselves. Imagine the freedom to do what we want and not fear being judged?

What do you want to do in freedom? It could be a million things. For me it is writing. I want to write and to inspire people to live the best life they can live for themselves and their families. I want to keep myself accountable and make up games and strategies and tricks for when life gets me down and share them with you guys. But what will you think? What will my community think of me pouring out my heart? Will they judge me? Will they laugh at me? Will they…?

Who cares should be the answer! I have been on this planet too long to get stopped by worrying about other people and what they think. Like I learned, it is better to just be your true authentic self and lead the life you want to live and let other people just be other people.

So here I am, going out on a limb and putting myself, my thoughts, my life and my hopes out there. Where are you ready to get out there in life yourself? Where are you going to be strong and go after your dream?

And who in your life needs your support in going after their dream? Not advice but support. Simply listening and being there for them. Offering advice only when asked for and instead offering love, understanding and solace as a constant.

We can all only pray to be that person for others in our lives. To build a network of trusted friends and mentors to whatever level we each feel comfortable. But in the end, a true friendship is beyond our Instagram and Facebook reel of our perfect lives. Don’t you want to know what is actually going on in your closest people’s lives? Doesn’t it make you feel good to be there for them, and even sometimes relief to hear that other people, like you, are going through things and dealing with life the best they can?

Let’s come together and bring our vulnerability. Let’s come together and laugh and maybe cry together. Let’s bring our dreams together and make things happen on this planet like the forces we are.

 

The Whole World is a Playground

While I was dropping my son off at school this morning, I snapped this pic of the playground. I was struck by the energy and exuberance all around me and how all the kids turned the playground into whatever they wanted it to be. Enthralled in the moment, they run, they sing, they dance, they play, they draw, they chase. They are free.

The playground isn’t just a playground. It is a basketball arena, a stage, a canvas. They are joyful and jubilant.

As we go into the weekend, I want to take this attitude with me. I want to create moments of bliss with my family and turn wherever I am into something inspiring. I want to play and experience freedom and flow, if even just for a little.

What will you do this weekend to find even just one of these moments?

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La Jolla Sunset

La Jolla Sunset

Went to beautiful La Jolla and stumbled upon another picture perfect sunset. It was as if we were surrounded my magic- the air, the whooshing of the waves and the majestic cotton candy sky. In this busy world and life it is so nice to take a moment out to enjoy God’s gorgeous nature on display, and no better place for that than La Jolla Cove.

 

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Welcome to Chasing Havers

Welcome to Chasing Havers

Chasing Havers is underway! I am very excited to share what I am learning in my life about how to be the best parent, wife, person, friend, athlete, artist and overall adventurer. I plan to share posts, pictures, and anything inspiring.

I want everyone in the world to live the best life that they possibly can. I don’t think life is perfect, but I think that we can give everything we have to design the best life for ourselves and our families. I am setting out in this blog to journal my way toward the best life and sharing with you what I have learned and will continue to learn along the way. Because what is life without adventure, learning and fun?

These days most of my adventures take place in San Diego, CA where I live with my husband and two boys. My past adventures have taken me around the world and I will share some travel pics and stories along the way. For now though we spend our days with family and friends, at the beach, in the gym, on the tennis court, in the pool, cooking, reading, writing and definitely playing. Good thing my childhood nickname was Play Play Maloney, because even today I do a lot of playing.

In fact, play helps define the context of my life. I try to bring fun and playfulness to everything I do. I teach my kids through play and look for the lightness in life. I can’t wait to keep this crazy adventure going and to hear from you on what works for you and what inspiration you have gleamed. Cheers!

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