Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Slow Down a Little

Wow, fall came quickly. The leaves are changing every day, while our routine is becoming more consistent. Each morning starts at 6:00 (which is 3:00 Pacific Time, which is what I sometimes like to announce as I’m stumbling out of bed). Then follows a steady rush of packing lunches, tying shoes, and walking to the bus stop (me and the kids), biking to the metro, riding the metro, a full day of work, and another commute back home (Jack), first grade (Jolie), preschool, playgroups and soccer (Leah & Cal), dinner, dishes, and the perpetual task of settling into the house (me, and my boyfriends at the Fairfax Home Depot). I think it’s safe to say that our fall has become as busy as our summer was lazy.

Thank goodness Columbus got lost on his way to India, and gave all of us the day off on Monday. I had really been looking forward to Columbus Day, as had my mile-long list of neglected projects that could finally be tackled – Refinishing the entertainment center, hanging the living room pictures, sorting the winter clothes, catching up on blog posts, etc. etc. etc.

And then, the night before we were to roll up our sleeves, I read a message, given last week by Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

He talked about the rushed pace of life, and about refocusing on what matters most. I adored his simple advice. So much, that I tossed my to-do list (gulp), and we instead spent the afternoon with the kids, on a 1920's farm, accomplishing absolutely nothing.

As we did, his counsel resonated in my mind.

"One of the characteristics of modern life seems to be that we are moving at an ever-increasing rate.

Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We can all think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list.

They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia—even during times of stress and fatigue. Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives.

It is said that any virtue when taken to an extreme can become a vice. Overscheduling our days would certainly qualify for this. There comes a point where milestones can become millstones and ambitions, albatrosses around our necks.

The wise resist the temptation to get caught up in the frantic rush of everyday life. They follow the advice “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” In short, they focus on the things that matter most.

There is a beauty and clarity that comes from simplicity that we sometimes do not appreciate in our thirst for intricate solutions.

We would do well to slow down a little,

proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances,

focus on the significant,

lift up our eyes,

and truly see the things that matter most."

-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

President Uchtdorf is a German aviator, a former airline executive, and a man I believe to be an apostle of Jesus Christ. His full message, "Of Things that Matter Most," can be seen here, or read here. It takes 10 minutes to read, and if ever you have felt overwhelmed, I highly recommend that you do. If you haven't, at least read up to the part about ballpoint pens in space. That part is my favorite.


Jane said...

I love this!! A great reminder for me, thanks. And all the pictures are such a treat. I think I will have to make a collage for my screensaver because I can't choose just one.

Susan said...

Such a great message.
Such heart warming pictures.
I love it.

Flem said...

This is beautiful!! Did you plan ahead for this while you were taking pictures or did you just make it happen.

Call me. I miss you.

Jeannie said...

Everything I've been feeling only said more beautifully.

P.S. I think they should just use your images to create the "Mormon Message" for President Uchtdorf's talk.

Julie Knowlton said...

LOVE this. Thank you. And I could stare at your kids all day.

Marci Coombs said...

Sigh....this made me smile. Thank You! And when was your little Cal allowed to start growing up? I cannot believe how big he is getting! Wishing I could come and see your cute kiddos in person with Joe. Double sigh. I am tearing up just thinking about it.

Lara said...

This talk left a powerful impression on me during conference and I love the way you presented it here in photo essay form. Beautiful!

Aileen said...

..And I love that this talk makes me feel a bit less guilty for not enrolling my kids in too much stuff. Oh how those pictures tell the story!!

Jenny ESP said...

Fortunately, we Esplins are the slowest people I know. Borderline lazy, I'd say. I think I need to take more pictures.

Katie and Jeff said...

I love his message, so many parts. The elderly woman, the paragraph on family. Sweet pictures of your family Katie! I wish we could be there to slow down with you!

Allen and Amy Waples said...

THANK YOU, KATIE!! How true is that....what beautiful pictures of a perfect day!

Ingrid said...

Thanks for the reminder!

Rileigh said...

Your amazing. Thank you for this.

Kristin said...

Perfectly put, as always Katie. I'm seriously dying to get out there to see you guys. It's looks so beautiful. Plan on next May/June... after all the snow has gone away there, and it's starting to get unbearable here; that's when I'm coming. I love the picture of you and Cal. You don't often grace us with your presence on the blog, so it was nice to see ya!

Cathy Leavitt said...

Enjoyed catching up on your family through your blog, and just finished listening to Pres. Uchtdorf's message again. It helps to put things in perspective. Thanks for posting that...absolutely love him. Best wishes to your family in DC. By the way, I love the picture of Jack...he's a keeper!

Humpty Dumpty

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