Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Last year I became painfully aware of my scarcity mindset.

Most of my life, I'd lived in fear that there might not be enough good to go around. I might run out of Time. Money. Food. We might not get enough Sleep, or Attention, or Rain, or Sunshine. What if I found myself needing Help...Comfort...Love? I might not always have enough Sex, Health, Joy, Pleasure...

Maybe I'd reach the end of the roll and THERE WOULDN'T BE ANOTHER ONE.

For decades, "contentment" had been my mantra. I'd practiced doing without--or preparing to do without. I even got good at it.

"I have learned... to be content. I know both how to be abased... and how to abound."

The above quotation from St. Paul hung over our toilet when I was growing up. I read it, recited it, sang it to a little tune I made up. I was never too sure about those categories, so I focused on the first part.

But hand in hand with the type of "contentment" I cultivated went a reluctance to enjoy what I had. I was habitually hesitating, holding something back in case.

We spent a lot of time--and emotional energy--inhabiting a future that was bleaker than the present.

Early in our married life, Chris and I discussed the concept of Margins. We managed our anxiety by keeping a reserve, always holding back some of our finances, some of our schedule, some of our energy.

We lived conservatively. It provided a security that comforted us at the time and it helped us function, but it didn't help us live.

When I faced my obsession with scarcity head-on, I didn't like it at all. I understood why it annoyed my friends, too! I began to observe how other people chose to live and whether they were more or less happy. And realized my biggest regrets were the experiences I'd missed because I'd been too anxious to say yes.

I began to practice saying Yes more often. To myself, to my kids, to friends, to opportunities and adventures.

It certainly didn't happen all at once, but I spend much more time living in my now. Where there IS enough. Usually more than enough!

On Mother's Day, I felt like celebrating so I invited some of my favorite people to a party. My house was filled with friends, flowers, good food, wine, laughter, even a puppy! After everyone left and I was left with happy memories to savor, one word popped into my head. 


And just like that, I had the motto for my lifestyle this year. Being "all in". Living out to the edges. Letting myself use the whole space, fill up the schedule, spend the entire budget, try all the things, flow over the sides, be more spontaneous, and not hold back.

Long ago, Chris taught me about lagniappe, the word Louisianans use for "a little extra". I think of it now when I feel the tug of old habits and choose to enjoy my abundance instead.

We make more memories and enjoy life a little more when I remember to say "Yes!"


  1. Jeri, you are a prize. This unfolding tale you are weaving for us just gets better and better.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. And for following. :)

  2. Hi,
    I'm a believer. I'm from Portugal. I've been reading your blog since afternoon. I did not know these reality, and I am so sad about it. On one hand, I'm glad you're freeing yourself from this sick lifestyle, but on the other hand, I can not help thinking that God is not blame for what people do ... do not get me wrong, I'm just giving my opinion ... I respect you and admire you for your ability to survive, thank you for showing me this sad reality ... As for this specific text, when I read it, I immediately associate to poem by a well-known Portuguese writer: Fernando Pessoa. It's something like this:

    “To be great, be whole;
    Exclude nothing, exaggerate nothing that is not you.
    Be whole in everything. Put all you are
    Into the smallest thing you do.
    So, in each lake, the moon shines with splendor
    Because it blooms up above.”

    Ricardo Reis (heteronym of Fernando Pessoa)