Wednesday, August 29, 2012

good-bye summer

The cooler nights are moving in and it makes me crack the windows as my little ones rest their heads on their pillows after a long day in the sun. The curtains in my room blow a little toward me from the gentle breeze as I drift asleep and I am reminded that the wind is not the only thing blowing through my home these days. New seasons are waiting to welcome me into the next place in life. This season that is gently blowing in sends two out of three boys off to school and I remember thinking that this year, this fall, this time in our lives was so far away not that long ago. My pattern for this time of year is to stretch my summer out as long as possible, but the rather slow pace I created for myself the weeks leading up had me feeling actually ready for the school days to begin and the pool days to end. The slower pace let me indulge in lazy mornings with my kids and long afternoons out back. I found my days ended with my cup over-flowing instead of begging for one more drop. As the gentle fall breeze moves in, I find I am looking forward to what is to come instead of looking back at what has already gone by.

The summer started off in a big spinning circle and by the end of June I was feeling a strong sense to slow down and stop. So that is what I did. Looking ahead at that time I knew I wouldn't move into the next season well if I didn't change the rate at what I was going about my days before the apples started turning red and the leaves began to fall. On these days tucked away at home I made some space for my soul to rest and be present in the here and now. I carved out time to carefully prepare and create our home to be ready for this new season. I ignored the urgent matters and paid attention to the important things. I said no to a lot, but in the process of turning many things away, I said yes to so much more that was happening within my 4 walls over here in our neighborhood.

I want to do these little years with my children well. This requires some very intentional planning, some humor, and a lot of daily grace. It also requires that I have made time for myself to be available to hear my own Father lead me, to not take myself too seriously, and to give myself some room to grow.  As I am not nearly done with my own little flock of boys, neither is my Father finished with me.  So slow and steady is where I find I am best nurtured, taught, and ready for whatever comes along in these ever-changing seasons. Not only have I made plans for the crew living under my roof these days, but I have very much included myself in these intentional nurturing days. When I find my bed at night and feel that cool autumn breeze blowing in, I greet it with welcome arms. I am still. I can feel he is God. I can trust I am walking into a place ready for whats next.

Instead of dragging my feet and trying to avoid a rather painful goodbye to summer, I am opening those windows and letting this new season blow in. My heart feels ready, my home feels like home, and my daily minutes are ready for whats next. Goodbye's are not forever...just a see ya later. This season will be back and with it comes a new joy looking ahead with arms open ready to greet an old friend.  Good-bye summer...see ya soon.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

a fresh start

Today marks the first day of school for our 3rd grader who has spent his summer swimming, playing with friends, helping around the house, learning to bake, working on the roof, time with cousins, caring for his animals, VBS, bike riding, visiting the neighbors, playing with the neighbor church kids, and growing tall. He has caught fish and twirled sparklers and built sand castles and nurtured a garden and baked brownies. His days have been filled as he has been blessed to enjoy a leisury summer as an 8 year old boy. He was fully ready for today and my heart was at peace knowing he was prepared to begin a new year. A fresh start.

In the world of parenting I continue to keep up with how fast the seasons change. God created our world in 6 days and I suppose it was his intentions from the beginning for things to change, to see new seasons and for things to not just stay the same. He moved quick and with perfection. But He was focused and purposeful. I am slowly accepting that life changes at rapid speeds. It's not so much the change that gets me at times, but the pace. The pace at what I live it. My son enjoyed a rather slow paced summer and on the day that it was time to shift seasons, he was prepared. I have found myself in a place that has me still, nurturing my heart, my mind, my body after a too-fast paced stage that left me worn out and weary.

I recently had almost an entire day to myself. This is a rare, rare treat. A whole day to myself, in my home, all by myself. I love my family and my animals, but sometimes I just want everybody to get out :) I spent the day finishing up some projects, listening to my favorite music, totally gutting and cleaning out closets, counters, and drawers, eating chocolate for lunch, and drinking Arnold Palmers all day. It was beautiful. I accomplished so much outwardly, but inwardly I found good clarity too. The past year my home had become a cluttered rather fussy non-sleeping baby with repeat ear infections, new jobs for both my hubs and me, a rough year for my 2nd grader, and a pace that had me in survival mode had created a very cluttered home. It honestly overwhelms me to have such chaos around me and when my outside atmosphere is that way, my inside feels about the same. So it was no question that a whole day to myself in my home may have been the best day ever...okay, that is slightly exaggerated...but it.was.awesome!

As I worked quietly in my home I thought about the time, energy, and planning it took to run a smooth home for a family of five who would enjoy spending their time here and want to end their day in this place. A place where they truly felt like home was "home, sweet home". As I purposely filled those hours, I also thought about what living a clutter-free life looked like too. Clutter sometimes goes unrecognized because it can often be good clutter. I have spent the last 6 weeks clearing my daily calenders from most things outside my home to create an empty slate for my heart, body, and mind. I have really purposely focused my energy on the immediate needs of our family and tried to make a clear path for whats next. I've had to say no to many things and its been hard. Really hard. Friends have had babies, gotten married, had hard things happen, church has called for volunteering, school has sent out PTA cards, dinner parties have happened, and park play-dates been set-up... but I have had to say no to most of it. I wasn't sure which way I was going most days, so in order to find the starting place so I could carefully go forward again, I stopped almost everything. I did not feel ready for the first day of anything, unlike my son, ready to walk his new journey confidant in where he was.

Today my home feels a little more comfortable and a lot less cluttered. My heart is feeling similar. I am not jumping into anything yet, as I need to stay in this place of de-cluttering while my heart finds the starting line again. I am finding that these days I spend doing just what is required of me in the role as mom and wife that I am leaving space to truly see and hear. See the things that went by so foggy for so long, hear the things that came muffled to me during a cluttered life stage. In this place of de-cluttering my heart feels thankfulness in a new way and sees beauty as God created it. Seeing is believing and hearing is truth. Truth is pressed upon my heart today as I send my boy off to school and feel His peace upon my heart. A fresh start for more then one here, in this less cluttered home these days.