On Scheduling Our First Things and First People FIRST

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Have you ever had a week that changes the trajectory of your life? 

Last week was one of those for me. I was reminded of two key lessons that I know I’ll need to revisit and live out more intentionally from now on.

To start we had gone camping over Memorial Day weekend. As many of you know I’m not a always a huge fan of camping but AM a huge fan of my husband and HE loves it.

So he had this trip planned and I really was excited to join along. May was great but busy and I was happy to have the chance for some quiet for a few days.  I also  knew we would be stopping at two beautiful parks that I had not been to before so I was excited to have my husband share his love of the outdoors with us.

We had a lot of fun.

One afternoon when I sat and wrote in my journal:

Sitting by the lake, enjoying the sun and the peace. The slower pace. Reading, walking, resting, enjoying simple meals together. I want more of THIS. More slow, more quiet and more meaningful moments. How do I bring this home with me?

As I mentioned my husband loves to camp. It is life-giving and soul-filling for him and he knows he needs it. He works really hard but he is intentional about scheduling weekend camping trips at least quarterly. And he is wise. Camping trips go on his calendar before any lesser things can fill it up, he creates space for what he needs most.

I KNOW I need to get the important on my calendar or the other “stuff” fill it and there will be no more room but I’m a slow learner and keep adding and adding things before I realize I have no space left for what my soul needs most.

Lesson #1 schedule the important, life-giving activities first.

When we returned home, I got a call from my mom, apparently my great-aunt was not doing so well and it turns out she had had a stroke.

Now let me just tell you real quick about my great-aunt Mama Blanca if you haven’t met her yet. She’s 95, she was my grandmother’s younger sister and although she never married or had any biological children of her own she has been a mother to dozens of nieces and nephews, grand, and even great-grand nieces and nephews, not to mention the countless other friends and extended family she’s mothered. She’s an amazing woman. She’s the strongest person I know. She’s the best person I’ve ever met.

But most importantly she’s my person.   

She has been in my life since I was about 3 or so when she came to the states from Nicaragua and moved in with us. She was my caretaker and along with my grandma raised me while my mom worked hard to provide for us.  

But she IS 95 so really it’s not that crazy that she would have some health issues. She’s old, I get it.

But nevertheless, the idea of losing my Mama Blanca crushed me. Although I have lost my grandma and two dear friends in the last few years, the idea of losing her completely wrecked me. I’m usually pretty good in a crisis but truthfully I was an emotional mess all week.

I can’t quite explain why it’s hit me so hard, part of it is because she’s my caretaker, I was her little girl and losing her would be like losing my childhood.

But the real truth is it caused an ache in my soul.

I often say that like our bodies ache when out of alignment, there is a soul ache that comes from a misaligned life. When values and priorities don’t line up with actions.

When my grandma passed away 5 years ago, I purposed to spend even more time with Mama Blanca. I felt like I took it for granted that my grandma would be around forever and I missed having conversations with her that I wanted to. And then she was gone.

But not Mama Blanca, I would not make the same mistake. I would spend time with her, ask her questions, write down her recipes, listen to her stories.

Only I didn’t.

Life got busy and sure I stopped by to see her pretty regularly when I was over my mom’s but I didn’t slow down enough to ask the questions or listen to the stories. I didn’t linger. . . I thought there’d be more time. . .

Lesson #2 schedule the important people and relationships first.

My soul aches because I have been living out of alignment with regards to some key relationships in my life.

And nothing feels heavier than that weight of regret.

Regret leaves us asking “why questions”.

  • Why didn’t I spend more time with___?
  • Why didn’t I say I love you more?
  • Why couldn’t we have more time?

Perhaps its more helpful to ask the “what” questions.

What do I need to do now to live without regret? What people do I need to make more time for? What relationships do I need to work on strengthening or repairing?

Mama Blanca is still with us for now. She’s still in the hospital, and she can’t talk or move around like before but even with her speech impaired, she’s still singing worship songs and reciting  Psalm 23.

And I honestly have no idea how much time she has left with us. But for however long it is, she’s at the top of my list, she’s a priority on my schedule. And I’ll be spending as much time as I possibly can making sure she know’s how much I love her.

Friends are there people who need to be restored to their proper place in your life? Are there activities or practices that have been neglected that your soul is desperate for?

Consider scheduling a “first things” or “first people” date today.

This summer I’m excited to get back to my “first things” and “first people”. I’ll be leading a online group through the Aligned Parenting workbook and the truth is I probably need to be reminded about the message of this book more than anyone but if you’re feeling like you’ve maybe gotten a little out of alignment yourself, consider joining us. And it’s not just for parents, anyone can benefit from the exercises and questions designed to get you back on track towards the life you want to live. You can sign up below or head over HERE for more details.   

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  1. Great reminder! Being intentional and mindful of how we are prioritizing people in our lives helps us to have no regrets. Thank you for this post!

  2. Ask the ‘What’ questions… I am stuck on this and thinking through this. I know there are many places in my life where the proper question is ‘what’ instead of ‘why’. Thanks for sharing, Zohary.

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