Friday, January 24, 2014

Need to Breathe: What Am I Here For?

It's funny how God works.

These past few days, I've been thinking about my choices and where they are leading me.  And then I read two great bloggers speak to the ideas of refocusing on things like gratitude for abundance.

As I tell my kids, good choices=good stuff, and bad choices=bad stuff.   In conclusion, make good choices.

If only it were that simple.

Well, it sort of is.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm never going to have life all figured out.  There's never going to be a perfect day.   I'm always going to be mulling over mistakes, ideas, improvements, accomplishments.  I am who I am.  Type A, Type I.  A little bit Bridget Jones, a little bit Emily in The Devil Wears Prada, a little bit Shelby in Steel Magnolias. 

I left my nine-year job (teaching at a university) to be a full-time stay-at-home-mom.  Well, sort of.  That same year, Baby Z was born, my book was published, I started working for, and I started consistently doing media appearances.

It was exciting.  Exhilarating. 

And a bit overwhelming.

And I feel like now, a year after our busiest year yet, I'm needing to put on the brakes for a few reasons.  First, I quit my job to be able to have more time to focus on my home and my family.  Teaching, like actually being in the classroom, was easy for me.  But about 90% of my work was happening at home:  grading, prep, answering e-mails, tracking down reading material, entering grades.     It was impossible for me to get any work done with young kids in the house.    I was tired of feeling so divided, rushed, and tired.

Second, Miss E starts kindergarten in seven months.   My baby.

Third, Baby E heads to preschool in the fall.

Fourth, my book has been very successful, to which I'm honored and thrilled.  But marketing a book takes a whole lot of work:  time, energy, and thought.   Being in author is hardly glamorous or lucrative, though it's most certainly quite rewarding.

Having three kids under age five is mayhem.   But I enjoy it.  I love the funny things my kids say.  I love their questions.  Their facial expressions.  Their dance moves.  Oh, their dance moves!  I love their hugs and kisses and little hands patting my cheeks.  I love their artwork and Lego creations.  I love the way they look when they sleep.  I love when they say "I'm sorry" to one another.  I love when the girls unite and stand up to me when I ask them to do something or discipline one of them:  "But we are sisters!"  I love their sighs and their giggles.   I love how they can't contain their joy or their sadness.  I love how they believe everything is possible.  I love how when their dad walks in the door, they all literally jump for joy.

Here's the deal:  I don't want to miss moments because I'm caught up in making someone else's day.

Maybe it's because it's January:  the month when resolutions are still promising and I've just turned another year older.  Maybe it's because here in the Midwest, the weather is incredibly unpredictable, but regardless, we spend many days indoors while the skies are gray and gloomy.  Maybe it's the realization that in just a few short months, my girls are both taking major steps in their young lives.   Maybe it's because my son has just turned one, and I already feel like he's kissing babyhood goodbye.

My children have taught me more lessons than any blog, book, post, article, message, or Tweet.

And my to-do list is created by me. 

I'm going back to saying no.  No to things that don't empower, educate, or energize.  No to things that aren't authentic.  No to people who serve toxicity.  No to demands that deplete.  No to jealousy and judgement. 

I'm saying yes to face-to-face time with friends and family.  Lazy, appreciative afternoons.    Rest.  Prayer and Bible-reading.   Outdoor play.   Good books.  Dancing, baking, creating.  De-cluttering.  Thanking.  Blessing others.  Learning.  Daydreaming.  Jesus-following.  Healthy living.  Simplifying. 

Yes to breathing.

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