Knowing When to Pull Back and Regroup

Some days, you have to keep plugging away. Chug, chug, chug – like the “little engine that could” from the story that we all probably read to our kids at some point in their toddlerhood.

But some days, you just have to pull back and take time to regroup.

Today is one of those days.

Do you ever wake up and everything feels just a bit off kilter? Things started off that way yesterday. Boo was complaining of a tummy ache, which Dr. Mom has diagnosed as a side effect of stress. My little guy has a lot on his mind, and I’m having a hard time easing his worries at the moment. (But that is for another blog post.)

After dropping the kids off at school and taking a quick drive through Starbucks for a (free – yay, rewards) coffee, thoughts and worries noisily tumbling inside my head, colliding and bouncing like rocks in a dryer, I headed to church for my women’s bible study group, hoping to find some peace and grounding.  Getting out of the car with hands full of handbag, bible, keys and latte – I fumbled the keys. I didn’t drop the latte, but I spilled it everywhere. Grace in action, that’s me.

When I got to the (locked) door, I saw that the library where we meet was dark. I didn’t know if I was too early, or if I had misread the start date (turns out I had), so I headed back to my car where I could search for the needed email on my phone. On the way there, I slipped on the ice, ripping a hole in one of the last remaining pairs of fat jeans I owned that didn’t have a hole worn through in the knee.

Graceful and chubby. Yay, me.

It was starting to snow, and it was the first moment in what felt like weeks where I knew I’d have the house to myself. I haven’t journaled in a few days, my head was full of stuff that needed to be let out, and yes, like a little kid, I kind of wanted to run away. Or home.

So I went home. I sat down in my kitchen, journal and pens spread around me at the island, latte at hand, and wrote.

And wrote and wrote and wrote. I wrote until I started to feel better. I felt like a bottle of soda that had been shaken and uncorked, pressure relieved.

Interestingly enough, this morning on the Faceplace, my buddy Thom (from The Gospel of Thom – go check him out) had posted:

You’re thinking that you are so tired that you want to skip the next hill. In reality, being tired is why you NEED to do the next hill. Head up. Shoulders back. Big steps. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.

My man Thom, he has some great stuff going on in his head.  And it hit me.

That next hill? Sometimes you need to take a deep breath and then throw yourself at it, giving it everything you’ve got – and sometimes, the only way you are going to make it up is to slow your pace, take smaller steps, nice and steady, and just plug away.  Breathe in, breathe out, one foot in front of the other, turn that focus inside and just keep yourself moving forward.

Either way, you’ll get to the top, and be glad you found a way to keep going.


  1. Oh, man. Just what I needed to read today. It’s been a very hard autumn and just as I was making it up the next hill, I feel like I rolled back back down it again. Just keep breathing and I’ll make it up that hill again.
    I hope you are having a much better day today!

    • Thanks you…so much! Seriously. Keep your head up, lady. I figure we’re both getting the worst out of the way, right? *knocks wood*

  2. Thom Higgins says

    When I wrote that, I was thinking physical. I can do that. I can muscle through anything. The mental version of this attitude is harder. I found that out today. I was irritated & frustrated. But then I read this and it helped turn me around. Thank you for the shout out, Jenn.

  3. Awesome! Yesterday as I was running around like a maniac I fell going UP the subway stairs. I have a bruise on my right knee the likes of which I haven’t seen in a long time. That’s the universe saying, “Lynda, slow down!”

  4. All that writing you did – that is my version of putting one foot in front of the other on my worst days, too. Nothing works better. It clears my head, lets me see things that I hid from myself or hadn’t really processed, and allows me to go forward in a much better place instead of running myself ragged. I’m glad you made it through!

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