Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The hands of time

Is it just me, or does it seem like time flies? I was going through my spices the other day-and canned goods, and some of the expiration dates made me seriously question my housekeeping skills. Time is really a fleeting thing. I sometimes feel all 40 of the years I have aged. And other times, it seems like the past was just a minute ago. I can remember being a little girl with pig tails, I remember random details from high school and college. I remember early days of marriage and my boys as newborn babies like no time has passed.

Christmas time is a big reminder of how time can change things for me. I loved it as a kid. I loved Christmas lights and the smell of fresh trees. I loved the anticipation of gifts and time off from school. As an adult, I enjoy my kids and I enjoy the spirit of giving and kindness, but honestly, I also feel a ton of anxiety. I worry about paying for everything-about meeting all these deadlines and commitments, about letting people down. I wish it wasn't so commercial. I wish I didn't feel so much pressure.

At its core, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our savior. I never knew how much I needed a savior when I was a kid. I just thought Jesus was someone who was very nice to people-especially children-for no reason. I learned early on that people can be terribly unkind for no particular reason so Jesus seemed that much more intriguing to me. I didn't even have to earn His love and kindness. I wasn't raised Christian but every chance I got, I took the opportunity to learn about it. I always felt comfortable praying and at most of the churches I went to. It's as if we all had cloaks on that hid all our imperfections. No one seemed to care about the things I battled daily at school or at home. Everyone was just there to connect with Christ. I liked that, and I still do. And back then, my sins were much more simple.

This Christmas in particular, as I look over a troubled year in my life, and I think about what Christ is trying to say to me. My life has been such a shambles this year. I have screwed things up in about every way a person can. My first reaction is that I am just a failure-and that He is getting sick of bailing me out. But I have been thinking more on it, and what He is really saying is that I am worth the fight. I am worth saving. We all are, but I am hearing it loud and clear personally. I think years like this represent the true meaning of the sacrifice He made. It gives me some perspective. It tells me to keep going. And I don't always want to. Some days I just want to concede. I am not worth the trouble, I am a lost cause. But then I look at all the blessings in my life and I just know He is up there pulling for me.

I read a quote walking through a bookstore last month. It said,
"When you are going through hell......keep going"

And I liked it. I think it says a lot with very few words. It is what Jesus would say if He was standing here, and I know. He really wants me to keep going-not to give up on myself. And I am trying so hard.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Yes, it really IS greener

I was laid off earlier this year in May. Now it's been almost six months. Paul was certain that I would be miserable in no time-rightfully so, I worried I would be too. I can't think of how many times my perception of something I didn't have being better has not panned out (classic grass is greener). But you know what? This grass really is greener. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being a stay at home mom. I have never been busier, and I am completely stressed out about money, but I wouldn't change a thing.

It is not nearly as I had envisioned it would be. I thought my house would be cleaner, my days would be more predictable and that I might just be on top of things. I thought I would catch up on all those closets and rooms full of junk that need sorting out. I thought for sure I would blog all the time. I was going to get on top of the millions of pieces of paper and pictures I have from the kids. I was going to cook wholesome, nutritious meals all the time....the list just goes on and on. I will say, that during the summer months, I did get quite a bit of stuff done around the house. But since school has started, I have been completely stymied by the over-commitment and under-delivery that accompanies my new status of a mom who "doesn't work". Don't get me wrong, I LOVE it. But I see total irony in the concept of not working, when I feel like I never sit still-and I am never done with anything.

My life is a constant work in progress:

My house never looks like I want it to.

My kids always have something I need to be doing for/with them: playdates, sports, school work of one kind of another, outings, etc

I work in their rooms, I go on field trips, I serve on committees, I play with my kids

I signed up for Bible Study (which I have really enjoyed);

I still teach all my classes (5 times a week)and the gym and sub whenever I can at the kids' school

I do cook a ton more than I used to but the beautiful, delicious gourmet meals have taken a back seat to the things I can squeeze in along with what my kids will actually eat (which is whatever most closely resembles junk food from a fast food restaurant)

My kids have a lot of friends over, and do as much socializing as is possible-this is largley because I always said they would if I could be at home with them.

As I look back at some of the blogs I have written about balance in my life and the feeling of being so very unfullfilled and just an underachiever, I find that being home instead of working full time at a meaningless job has made all the difference in the world. Sure there are tough days and times when I feel utterly useless, but overall, I have never been happier in my whole life-or more grateful for the chance to watch my kids grow up. Let's just hope I can make it last.