A time of reset and re-focus.
The 38th year of my life begins Wednesday.
Rather than January 1st being the stop and evaluation date, September, with the birthday milestone, is it for me.
It only gets better with time.
Thirty-seven years old is three years from forty and there is no hesitation for me regarding this.
The thirties have been amazing so far. The forties can only get better. Grief and trials to be sure, but in the grand scheme, so very much beauty.
So, very, much.
School begins Wednesday. Having done preschool in a spontaneous fashion the past two years, an actual scheduled day of Kindergarten will stretch both Miraclegirl and I, yet this too, we embrace. Schedule.
No more topsy-turvy of summer but rather, predictable days at home, falling into the comfort of knowing what's next and long afternoons of reading and quiet time, with dark evenings full of hobbies we love.
Bubbles will be having his own "school" in the toddler station I've set up for him. Play*doh, big blocks, Duplos, Wedgits, puzzles, and Plastic Pattern Blocks . Busy toys while his Sis learns, with of course, the occasional lap sits and snuggles he is known to pull from me.
Between now and then, today and tomorrow are jam-packed.
One big grocery trip. A preparation of healthy snacks to have on hand, which makes them easier to resort to when we hit a hunger moment.
And rearranging galore.
Handsome is painting as I write. Our bedroom.
Imagine that. . . a bedroom, instead of our living room!
By week's end the kids will be in one room and we will be in our room. Still in an unfinished state, but no longer sleeping in the living room.
The living room was filled last night with storage and still-packed-belongings. These replaced the beds. We've shifted this large pile to there so that we can focus on finishing the office and home school room today. One huge, monumental task that seems slightly daunting. Especially given that I had the home school room partially set up, only to realize I want to shift it to the other side of the original sanctuary, for sake of chalkboard and desk space. Once the storage and box pile was removed to the living room last night, I realized how much greener the grass was over there. ;)
So Handsome will remove the bulletin board he hung and I will re-mark the chalk board area to painted, and the desk will be grunted and groaned over across the way. It will be more work in the short term but a final, better arrangement in the long term.
As summer ends and we prepare for our school year, I look back over the past months and realize it has been a summer of lessons.
1. Deliberate parenting. My children need it. So do I. The cares of life aren't as large when life is viewed through a child's eyes. Less computer time gave room for more parenting time. The kids were better for it and so was I.
2. Photography. Coming, slowly but surely. Learning to hone what I love. Using it as a gift for those I love, which has been the desire from day one.
Plus the desire to document the lives of my children and the beauty that is our life.
3. The need to verbalize to those I love exactly that--that I love them. I can always write it. It's difficult for me to say it. Even more difficult to say it while looking them in the eyes. It stretches me beyond my reserved-private-heart-comfort zone but those I love need to hear it. And I need to say it just as much. Even as the words come, the love wells.
4. Saying "No". There will always be a million and one opportunities to pursue. Social events, learning venues, home school events, ministry opportunities. . .
While my tendency is to say "Yes" to every opportunity that comes along, my job instead, is to say "yes" only to those things that have to do with my life calling as wife, mama, and the areas of ministry and gifting God has given me. Everything else, as tempting and good as it is, needs to be let go.
5. Along the same line, is friendships. I am an inner circle gal. I have a very (very) wide circle of friends but only an inner circle of close heart friends. When time is spent on relationships, it is wiser for me personally, to spend the time investing in the one-on-one of my inner circle rather than the large social groups life presents to me.
Because I care that people care, this is difficult. I want to be the social butterfly that everyone loves. When my time investment choices lead me away from groups I come across as not caring and stand-offish. This makes me sad--but in the ultimate end, the time investment for me needs careful consideration, given my life calling, and this is something I have had to ponder and come to acceptance about in recent months.
Which brings me to
6. Shiloh brings me to a different life than most. Seen in the time taken these past months, here in the preparation stage, I realize daily that once the children whom Shiloh is being built for are here, this time requirement will remain the same.
Our heart children will take a time that most children do not need. They will require more sleepless nights that older children won't require. Our life will demand a very predictable schedule and routine.
Coupled with the ministries God also has me involved in, it is necessary to manage my time succinctly and qualitatively.
It's a full life I have now and the potential for it becoming even fuller exists.
To be honest, in some ways, it's a full, lonely life. Misunderstanding of my heart have already arisen as life-demands here in my world, result in "No's" to other parts of my world.
Loneliness I can handle.
Misunderstandings of me as a person break my heart.
That's why I end with
7. The continued lesson of the past year plus, and still the biggest one of my summer:
it's not about me, it's about God.
If people don't like me, it's ok
(unless I have done something I need to make right of course!)
It's about God--and my standing with Him.
If people do like me---well, it's still not about me. It's about Him.
If I am criticized for my choices---it's not about me, it's about Him and what He is directing me to do.
If I am held up on a pedastal because of the life we are pursuing---it's not about me, it's about Him who has called and who enables.
It can not be any clearer, and yet, it can not be any harder to remember--especially for one who cares so deeply what people think and has spent a lifetime longing for approval.
It's not about me, it's about Him.
And that is what remains foremost in my mind and as the cry of my heart, as I prepare to enter this 38th year of my life and whatever it may bring.
From my heart to yours and