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When You Need to Tra-la-la & Forget the Tasks This Weekend

9:45 AMHeather

Some days, you are in the zone. You have more accomplished by 10 am than most people do in a day. You've worked out, you've read your Bible, you've sent your people off to work and school, you've successfully marked off 4 things from your Remember the Milk task app. You are kicking butt and taking names and you are all, "BRING IT! I've got this!"

Other days, you can hardly get out of bed and the mere thought of getting out of pajamas and into real clothes is far more than you can take. By 5 pm, you want to throw down some cereal on the dinner table, let your people eat it out of the box and head to bed. The only thing you want to accomplish is seeing an end to this everlasting day.

Yesterday was one of those days for me. I had set aside the day to work on a big project that I'm still totally unsure why I'm doing it in the first place. My husband came home for lunch and asked about the rest of my day. I told him my dilemma. Performance and high achiever me is meeting super-tired-and-over-it me. A clash of the titans.

Somedays you just want to say tra-la-la and forget the tasks. Now, that is a luxury, to be sure. To even have such margins. So if you think this is a pie-in-the-sky opportunity, look at it this way. If you have 30 minutes you could snatch for yourself, what would you do? If you could hand the little ones over to hubs and say, "TAG, you're it! You are officially P.O.D (Parent on Duty)," then what would you do with that rare and nearly extinct thing called Me Time?

Should you find yourself with this conundrum, or you simply must find a way to make it happen, then here are some ideas for you. Some things that just make me happy and lighten a hard day. 

(Besides Jesus. Jesus is always the answer. But these are sorta brainless happy things to do when you need to huddle under a blanket in your favorite pajama pants)  

Netflix one of these shows:
--Gilmore Girls
--Anjelah Johnson's "Not Fancy"
--Anjelah Johnson's "That's How We Do it!"
--Anjelah Johnson's "The Homecoming Show"
--Sing it On
--the movie "Black or White"
--Downton Abbey
--Call the Midwife
--Living on One Dollar 
--On the Way to School 

Now, allow me to say. This is certainly not an exhaustive list. Of course, for you bloggy friends, I'd be happy to do the hard work of continuing to research 100 ways to blow a rainy afternoon as you lie in bed. And to be honest, the last two on the list are documentaries that I have yet to watch, but have heard many good things about. Yet, here is what I can tell you.

Gilmore Girls stole my heart because HELLO, SARCASM! This show has so much to teach on that particular topic. (See my blog post from Wednesday). Whoever the writers were deserve some major props for this series. I could watch it a million times over and still never catch all the one-liners from Lorelei, Rory and all the gang. I love their relationships and their authenticity. All the ups and downs between them brought me a complete escape from a bad day. Amusing and witty dialog, multi-layered plots and total pull on the heart strings.

Which is why I also loved Parenthood. Again, clever, multi-layered and total pull on the heart strings. Not to mention twists and turns that accomplished the rare feat of leaving me guessing. Somehow this shows makes all of of our dysfunctional families seem somewhat functional because there is good and bad in all of us and in all of THEM and how they relate to each other. Oh, the Bravermans. I worry for them all. Ever since watching the season finale, I find myself wanting to utter a prayer for Christina and for Julia and for each and every last one of them and whatever is happening to them right now. Then, I remember that it was just a really well written show that made you believe that a crazy diverse family in California might really exist exactly as written.

Anjelah Johnson. If you don't know that name, then you might know Bon Qui Qui. "Se-Cur-I-Tee, we got a complicated order"! Or the nail salon skit from her stand up comedy--"You so pret-ty, like chee-leader. Why you have no boyfriend?" Her Netflix specials are funny and clean and I just love her sense of humor. So, if you need a chuckle, check her out. 

Sing it On.  A Netflix series about the real world of collegiate Acapella competitions. It's aca-awesome. And just as it inspired Pitch Perfect, it, too, does include a little inappropriateness by way of language and such. It's a documentary on college students who sing. Not a group of college kids who are serving the Lord. SO, yes, there are some reasons to not watch with small children. But, the music is amazing. These kids are beyond talented, and you will find yourself drawn to one group or another who you will begin to cheer for on their road to the finals. Watch out! Because while they were not featured, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY'S group suddenly had a cameo appearance a few episodes in and then I had to know how that ended for them. While wishing they had been a featured group, I still was drawn to the real world of college kids in this current culture. Moms of nearly college students or actual college students--this series gives a little glimpse into college life, with some sobering reminders about this hard season of life nowadays.

Black or White. I just loved this movie. I watched it recently and it was one of those movies that I wish had seen better success in the box office. Who doesn't love Octavia Spencer from The Help? The dynamics of division among races and socioeconomic classes--so very relevant in this day and age. I appreciated how this movie drove home some important points about the differences between us and how they do not have to be divisions amongst us.

Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife. Thank you, BBC. And, I love how far you've come, PBS, from the days when I began boycotting Calliou because it evoked the whiney in my son's generation. I love London. I love Brits. I love these shows and how they help me consider past generations and how things used to be. Mostly, these shows keep it classy (for the most part). But they are for adult audiences. And the characters are so well written. Again--excellent one-liners from the brilliant writers, especially in Downton. Always lean in when the Dowager is speaking. She has the best lines ever.

Living on One Dollar and On the Way to School. Have not seen these documentaries, as I previously mentioned. But they look right up my alley as eye openers to understanding the struggles in other countries and the reality of how rich we Americans actually are compared with the rest of the world. Besides, the one dollar movie would totally emphasize what I tell my kids ad naseum about our financial status and the "wants"--"Kids, did you know that half of the world's population lives on $2 a day or LESS?"

Now, if watching a show is not your thing, or you truly only have a few minutes to snatch for yourself, how about some READING recommendations? You know, something more substantial than FB newsfeeds and Twitter updates. 

These are a few of my FAVORITE reads, all picked because they are so encouraging and uplifting and worth your precious time. These are feel good reads. In other words, not in my whole other category of books so worth the read because they will challenge you deeply from a spiritual perspective. That is for another blog post. Today--just giving you the lighter recommendations. These are the books you can read while sitting in car pool line or when you have just a few minutes left in baby's nap time and can't really start a task. These books would also be good for those few minutes just before you fall into sleep when you need to shut down your brain.

Anything written by Melanie Shankle, AKA Big Mama of the Big Mama blog. Yes. Any of her three books. Quick reads. So relatable. So relevant. And lighthearted with a spiritual punch, too. There's Sparkly Green Earrings about motherhood. The Antelope in my Living Room about marriage. And Nobody's Cuter than You about friendships. She is genuine and for real and I sorta know her. So, basically, I'm recommending my author friend's writings. (By know her, I mean that I've won two of her blog give-aways, and her best friend and my best friend went to high school together. So I've actually met Melanie and she knew me by name. So we are total BFFs).

A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson, AKA Boo Mama of the Boo Mama blog. Boo Mama and Big Mama are indeed real life friends. Which is how I got the word about this book. Sophie tells true stories of her Southern family, and it just made me appreciate my Texas roots. Like Melanie, Sophie writes in a light hearted tone but with spiritual truths behind it. So, it's another easy read that will encourage you. Especially if you are a Southern girl and get some of her "southernisms." If you are not from the South (and then I feel really badly for you), then you will learn some more about this great neck of the woods.

Stuff Christians Like by Jon Acuff. You will LOL, for real. You will relate completely if you grew up in a conservative Christian home. You will, like my other recommendations, also find some deeper spiritual truths in between the sarcasm, sass, and self depricating humor.  You will finish up with some fresh perspective on the Church, being the Church, and reaching the world. 

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty. Now, this little book is like the others because it's the author telling her own story. She is mixing faith with family and honestly sharing struggles and doubts. I guess I'm drawn to this type of genre? However, Sara's book is a bit deeper as she shares some very hard stories of her faith journey and it's not so much from a sarcastic or humorous perspective. It is, however, chalk full of goodness and nuggets that will uplift and encourage and challenge you. So, I have to round out my list of lighter faith reads with this one, even if it is a bit heavier in content.

I love to read, in case you can't tell. I was the kid who was happiest during the MS Read-a-Thon challenge. That was my kind of sporting event. So, I tend to read. A lot. Now, I'm not so big on the parenting books because they tend to defeat me. Although I'm a huge fan of Dannah Gresh's 6 Ways... books for both boys and girls. 

The other caveat to my reading choices is that I have little brain power left when I find time to read. So, I try to tackle some harder reads that are meant to cause me to think, but I have to take my time to really digest them. In other words, they take me a long time to read and process and complete. Books like JR Vassar's Glory Hunger, Ed Welch's When People are Big and God is Small, or Jennie Allen's Restless and Anything.  I also love me some Jen Hatmaker or Angie Smith.

Because of my propensity to read heavier books slowly, my general approach is to have a non-fiction "harder read" paired with a lighter read. Depending on my brain capacity, I choose which of my two books I will pick up when I find time to read. Today, I'm offering you my lighter fair reading list. Although I guess, I also just included a list of the harder but well worth it reads. Consider it your free bonus for reading this blog post.

THERE you have it, bloggy friends. Some watching and reading recommendations. Some have great content to really chew on. Some are just guilty pleasures to be brain dead.

Now, snatch a few minutes, say tra-la-la to the task list, and relax! Enjoy your long weekend! And please--share any of YOUR recommendations with me!

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