Sunday, November 10, 2013

"Peace and Quiet"

Peace and Quiet.

It's a tall order for any mother.

When I was younger and living at home with my siblings and parents, we'd ask my mom what she would want for her birthday, Mother's Day, or Christmas, and her response was always (jokingly) the same:  "Peace and quiet."

Serenity is hard to come by when you are a mother.  Even when you schedule opportunities for yourself, at least 50% of the time, the plans have to be cancelled.  A child gets sick.  You get sick.   You forget about a prior engagement, usually something the opposite of relaxing, like a yearly gyno appointment or a dental checkup.   Or there's that project you forgot you agreed to help with.  

This has been a weird past few months for me, adoption-wise.   A lot has been going on, and it's been confusing and frustrating and emotional.  I feel pretty isolated at times in these struggles, since I always honor the privacy of our children and their birth families and there are very few who truly get (and whom we trust) these struggles.  And I just am a bit burnt out on all-things-adoption.    I spend a lot of time filling the cups of others:  recommending articles, discussing agency options, writing articles about ethics, reading books, talking to prospective adoptive parents.   I do enjoy these things---but I'm feeling the need to take a step back and find my "peace and quiet" for the sake of my own sanity.

Even though I'm a strong advocate of the oxygen-mask mentality (you know, putting the mask on yourself first in order to best serve the person next to you on the plane)---I haven't been practicing it as much as I should.   I've been giving a bit too much, which, to my detriment, hinders my own growth and understanding of adoption and adoptive parenting.

There's been some major changes this year for our family.   Baby Z was born in January.   We have three kids under age five.  That's a game-changer:  three kids.   (Granted, I feel like the fuller my house, the fuller my heart).  Then in March, my book was published, and I've spent a lot of my "spare" time promoting my book through guest blog posts and tv and radio show appearances.    Then I just decided last week that I'm done teaching at the university for awhile.  I cannot fathom teaching a few classes, keeping up with my house and my three kids, continuing to write for and promoting my book and writing freelance articles, and being a decent human being who has friends.   Plus, November, December, and January are VERY busy months for our family between four birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas (plus two birth family visits and a huge adoptive family Christmas party we host).  Oh yes, and then there's the ever-present chronic disease...   Something has got to give.   And I've decided it's teaching.  

So, how do any of us, who need and desire "peace and quiet" gain those things when our plates are so full?  

I'm going to choose peace.  

Yep, it's a choice.  

Circumstances come and go.  There are always challenges and confusion and unpredicted rain showers.  There are always moments, if not seasons, of discomfort and guilt and discord.   There are always "haters" (whomever or whatever yours are) attempting to steal your joy.   Tamper with your soul.   Distract you from what matters most.    Sometimes, you are your own hater. 

It's a choice to let garbage in.  And you know the saying:  garbage in, garbage out.  Once garbage takes hold of your life, it can't help but come out:  in your emotions, in your words, in your actions, in your thoughts, in your relationships, in your parenting, in your job.  

That garbage could be a particular person or group. That garbage could be foods that don't nourish and energize your body for the tasks you have to handle that day. That garbage could be media (tv show, social media, magazines that tell you to hate how you look). That garbage could be too much clutter in your home that hinders you from being thankful for what you have and enjoying your favorite things. That garbage could be saying "yes" to commitments you aren't truly passionate about. That garbage could be a bad habit: gossiping, overspending, overcommitting, self-depreciating.

So the only way to keep that stuff out is to never let it in.  Don't even flirt with it.

Choose peace.

Eliminate distractions.

Nourish your priorities:  those essential relationships (God #1 trickles down into all other relationships), your health, and your life callings. 

By doing these things, you create quietness:  in your spirit.  

Be still and know that I am God
~Psalm 46:10

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
~It Is Well With My Soul (Horatio G. Spafford)

Peace and quiet is possible. 

I hope that today, you and I both have the courage to take steps towards peace and quiet.  

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