A Year of Habits, no. 4
“Every individual can improve from day to day, from year to year, and have greater capacity to do things as the years come and years go.” -Heber J. Grant
I read an interesting story about Heber J. Grant recently. As a boy he was a terrible baseball player, too weak to run or bat well, and he attracted a lot of teasing from his peers. He vowed to himself that he would someday play on the best team his age and win the championship of the Utah Territory. He shined shoes until he’d earned enough money to buy a baseball, which he spent hours and hours throwing at his neighbor’s barn. His arm ached so he could hardly sleep at night, but he pushed on. Eventually he worked his way from the worst team to the middle team, and finally to the best team. That team won the championship of the Utah territory. He then said, “Having thus made good my promise to myself, I retired from the baseball arena.”
He developed such a reputation for persistence throughout his life that it was later said of him, “he never criticized other men’s weaknesses but made war on his own.”
I love that statement. I want to be like that, so busy working on my own faults that I have no time left to criticize others.
It’s been a busy week. I’ve worked hard. At last my baby’s smile has returned after a month of illness and it is even sweeter than I remembered. It’s amazing what two or three nights of sleep can do for the spirits of both baby and mom. She’s making up for lost time, devising new ways to climb on top of my kitchen counter and working hard to lose every toothbrush in the house in a matter of minutes. I am so grateful for a healthy family, grateful for all the challenges we are spared through the simple gift of healthy bodies.
I still feel like mastering the schedule I’ve outlined for myself is the great key to success in all areas. The week didn’t produce what I sought in that area, but when faced with obstacles I made good decisions, trying to consciously choose between essential, important and nice-to-do tasks. Habits take time. I’m not in this for what January yields; I’m in it for the long run.
Looking back o the week, I have the following things to note:
1. We’ve added a couple of experiences to our Miracle Box. I love this.
2. I’m participating in this challenge. Although not one day has gone as planned, I’m making progress. My exercise regimen is improving, I’m eating 7 servings of fruits and veggies consistently each day, and it feels good.
3. My focus on planning is making a difference. It’s also helping my husband and I plan more specifically for the needs of individual children. Eight people still feels like a lot of responsibility to us. We’re getting better at it.
4. Tonight was week two of a special religious study plan we created for our older children. I’m excited to keep working on it and am so thankful for answered prayers in this matter.
5. I finished something every day. Somehow the disgust I felt with myself months ago still lingers in the form of motivation to become a finisher. I am tired of half-done projects, great or small, and am going to conquer this.
6. This one regards my children. We’ve improved greatly in our Friday afternoon homework sessions. I love getting it done early instead of having it hang over our heads as the weekends progress. We don’t do homework on Sunday and it’s not fun to have to wake the children up early Monday morning to do homework if we forgot.
As the month draws to a close my heart is full of gratitude for the wonder of being a mother. I worry that I do too much dumping on this blog and not enough praising my Heavenly Father for the privilege of doing what I do. It is hard, to be sure, and this stage has been particularly challenging for me personally, but I am living my greatest dream. I get to face every day with my best friend at my side. I don’t know why God has entrusted such amazing people to my care but I’m awfully grateful for this chance of a lifetime: raising a family. I know that God is aware of us and that He will help me become the mother my children need me to be. His grace is sufficient for the day. To quote a favorite song (sung by my wonderful friend Julene) “My grateful spirit sings.”