Wendi is a mother of three, a dentist's wife, owner of her own dance studio, busy church volunteer and always going out with friends to do something fun! I have enjoyed getting to know her through her heartfelt blog entries and have secretly wondered how she manages to fit it all in. So...I finally decided to ask!
Here are Wendi's thoughts on keeping your balance in a rapidly spinning world...
1. Why do think it is so easy for women to become "unbalanced" in this day and age? What common distractions do you and your friends face?
You're right, becoming unbalanced is the easy part, it's the "becoming balanced" that is hard. I think the reason it's so hard is that it is something that is never completed. It's an ongoing process. Life is always changing and giving us new challenges, so we are forced to re-evaluate our options and get re-balanced frequently. Even if we get "balanced", something will come along and knock us off balance. Then we'll have to re-evaluate again.
Albert Einstein said, "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you have to keep moving."
Some of the distractions that I and others face are probably just the little things in life that make us lose focus of what's really important. These distractions are not bad things, unless they inhibit us from getting the really important things done. Some examples: girls night out, TV, movies, books, blogging, shopping, teaching dance, daydreaming--those are some of my distractions, and I think they are all good things, unless it gets to the point where those things replace the essentials. If I place more value on those things than God, family, scripture and prayer, then I become out of balance.
2. There are so many GOOD ways to spend our time and energy. How do you set your priorities? How do you safeguard your resources for the things that matter most?
I think that there is not just one answer as to what is the right thing to choose in life. There are lots of "right paths," and what is right for one person isn't necessarily right for another.
I've found the most success when I involve the Lord in my priority setting. I ask Him in the morning what he would have me do that day. And when I make major decisions that affect my family, I spend serious time in prayer.
For example, running a dance studio is such a joy to me, and it brings me such satisfaction. But I often evaluate this use of my time. Is it taking me away from the important things? I've gotten on my knees several times and asked if it's still the right thing for me to do, letting Him know I would stop if it wasn't, but I've always gotten the answer that it's right for me.
The other thing I've found is that when I'm getting overtired, cranky at others, or judgemental--it's because I don't have the Lord's spirit with me. And that's because my priorities have gotten off.
I'm a HUGE fan of girls-night-out and movies with my girlfriends. But if I stay out so late that I'm ornery with my family the next day, then I know I made a bad decision, and I try to learn from it and be smarter the next time. It doesn't mean that I don't go out anymore, but I only go if I have the energy, and I've accomplished what I needed to get done with my family. They come first in my book. And luckily I have friends who agree with that philosophy--so it works for us. We all respect each other's family decisions. And I'll only spend my time on things and people that help me feel uplifted.
On that same note--if an activity away from the family buoys you up, recharges your batteries, and enables you to return home rejuvinated to be a better mom and wife--then I think that shows value.
3. How do you organize your schedule? Your home? Your studio? Your free time? Are you a "detail" person...or do you have a laid-back approach?
I have to have everything written down. I have so much going on, that if I don't have a place to keep track I'll get lost. I keep a thorough calendar, and I have notebooks and binders for everything. I always have paper and a pen with me.
If I'm out and about and I think of something I need to do or remember, I call home from my cell phone and leave a message on my answering machine for myself. I know it sounds silly, but I don't have much storage space in my brain!
With my studio, I have deadlines for myself for when I need to have things done. For example: I'll write on my calendar Have costumes ordered by today, Schedule building for spring recital by today, Call photographer and schedule pictures by today. That way I know everything will get done, but I am not overwhelmed with a long list of things to do in one day.
4. What "shortcuts" help you make the best use of your time...Frozen pizza? A cleaning lady? An iPhone? What are your top multi-tasking tips?
Some of my best time savers in the kitchen are crockpot recipes and freezer meals. Whenever I make a casserole/lasagna/pie, I always make two. Then I have one to put in the freezer; or take to a neighbor. It's not much more work to make multiples once you get everything out.
I do have cleaning ladies I call when I am in over my head. I wish I had the money to afford them every week--wouldn't that be wonderful? Sometimes it is really worth my money to get me back on track. Cheaper than therapy! And back to priorities: when my house gets really bad (shamed to admit it, but let's be real, it does), sometimes my priority is that I would rather have someone come clean my house than get a haircut.
Don't have an iphone--do I need one? Maybe I'll look into that!
5. Who are some of your female role-models? What life-balance lessons have they taught you? Truthfully, I look up to anyone who makes it through this crazy world and is able to keep their wits about them. Life is hard--we all have a lot to do--and it's a test in the process.
You never know the whole story about another person. You never know exactly what's in their heart, their sorrows, their joys, their struggles, etc.
But when I know a little bit of someone's struggles, what they've overcome, it makes me really admire their accomplishments.
I look up to the women who support men who serve in the military, in their church work, at their jobs, while the women keep things together on the homefront.
A lot of times, the men get the recognition for their great accomplishments, when it's really the women keeping things together and making it possible for men to accomplish great things. They do it quietly, without needing the acclaim of the world. I really respect that. Because in effect, they are balancing their own lives, their childrens' activities, and their husbands as well. It takes some good balancing to manage all that craziness!
6. Some people would say that you are far too busy to serve in your church and community. How do you fit that piece into the puzzle of your life? How do you feel serving others helps you find balance?
Well if you're going to use "being too busy" as an excuse, no one would serve. Tell me who isn't busy? I decided --when I got my current assignment in our church women's organization--that I was going to make it a priority. I cut way back on the number of dance classes that I taught, as well as the number of dance students I accepted.
I know it's temporary, and I'm willing to take my turn at it. I've enjoyed going to church activities for years, without having to be in charge of anything. I was able to just show up and enjoy a beautiful evening thanks to women who put in many hours of service to organize and execute the activities. I'm glad that I get the chance to take my turn. Without people willing to serve, these functions wouldn't happen.
"Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life. It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them." Thomas Kinkade
7. In 25 years, when you look back on your life...what do you hope you will see? What are you doing now to make it happen?
Well, since I feel like I lose more of my mind and my sanity everyday, I'm hoping that I have at least some brains left in 25 years!
I hope that down the road, I am surrounded by my kids and grandkids and we're all happy and healthy. I hope my kids are making good choices and that they forgive me for everything I'm doing wrong now--but I'm trying my best, by golly!
In 25 years, I know that many of the current distractions in my life aren't going to matter. The only thing that will really matter to me is family. So we're working on that: teaching our children, loving them, and sharing special moments together, and with extended family. It is work--but it's the best kind of work!