A Year of Habits, no. 37

Tonight we had some old friends over for dinner, friends we don’t see often enough.  We ate a delicious meal in the backyard beneath the cherry tree.  The children played, the dads caught up on life, and we two moms talked and talked and talked.

Right now my kitchen bears evidence of the gathering and the children were put to bed much later than we hoped, but it was well worth the visit.  Part of me worries a little at pulling it all together for a new week with tired children in the morning, but a bigger part of me is satisfied that it was an evening well spent.

I think back over my week and can’t help but feel pretty good about it.  I remember what I wrote at the beginning of the year, “my heart wants to fly, to fly high and soar like an eagle.”  While I have a gnawing sense of urgency as the year marches on with so much work yet unfinished, I must acknowledge that several times this week my heart did fly.  Interestingly, that feeling didn’t come as a result of anything I did, but because of things I observed my children doing.  I watched them in those moments, thinking to myself, “They just might be getting it!” as my heart swelled with joy.

My ten year old son has taken over the lawn mowing position in our family.  He’s doing it willingly, cheerfully, finding a way to be original (a secret for another week) and taking pride in his work.  Yesterday he knocked on a neighbor’s door and negotiated to mow their lawn for $10.  He promptly did the job and the homeowner told him it was the best mowing job she’d seen done on her yard in about three years.  I see things like this, think about all the times we’ve pushed him to work, work harder, and work harder some more, and wonder if it’s beginning to pay off.  He’s beginning to discover the joy of a job well done.  He’s developing a helpful habit.  This week he was the hardest worker around the house.

We’re improving the music practice.   Another habit picking up momentum.

Last night I had a great conversation with my oldest child.  He and I have struggled to communicate a few times this week.  Last night he was expressing frustration and I bit my tongue and listened.  When he was done I showed respect and understanding of his feelings and asked if I could share a thought with him.  I told him he didn’t have to like it, accept it or agree with it but asked him simply to think about it.  I was then able to present the same scenario to him from another perspective and help him see how the other individual might be feeling as a result of my son’s behavior.  Surprisingly, he listened to me.  When I finished he said, “I never thought of it like that before.”  Then he turned around and went to the other room to apologize to his dad.  I was stunned but grateful for a successful conversation.  It motivated me to be a better listener, to communicate with him more carefully and patiently, and taught me to trust the greatness of his heart a little bit more.  A soft reply really is best, isn’t it?

The house is slowly getting better.  It’s still a long way from where I’d like it to be when we turn it into a hotel this weekend, but progress is progress.  I’m finishing things.  I feel like I’m adjusting my sleep habits to where I want them to be.  I’m eating well, something I’ve been working at for a few months now.  Slow but steady changes.

I’m watching my children set goals and achieve them.  I’m watching them work hard to earn what they set their hearts on.  I watched my 8 year old daughter commit to shooting on goal three times in her game yesterday.  She only shot once, but it went in.  Her confidence is boosted and she’s getting a taste of what happens when we set goals and work at them.

I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like, and I feel like I need to carve more quiet out of the day, quiet time for reflection and writing.  I feel like there’s another layer, a richer layer, that is settling briefly but lifting when I get too busy.   I want it to settle and stay and feel that reading and writing are the missing elements.  In spite of decreased reading I have been precise about my religious study and I feel such a power coming from that time spent reading holy scripture and praying to my Heavenly Father about my many responsibilities.  I’m finding it easier to make decisions and feel more confident that I’m choosing what is truly best for my children.  I’m finding it easier to sacrifice in their behalf.  It’s easier to be patient and level-headed even when the house feels crazy.

The homework routine continues to improve with all the children.  Some need more motivation but we’re doing better.  We’re really working at it.

My little one was sick most of the week and wow, was she miserable!  I spent a lot of time holding her but I enjoyed it.  She will only be little once and I won’t miss it for anything, especially a clean kitchen floor.  I love her so much.

Today we enjoyed a couple of hours of family time that was unique.  We were all just hanging out in the family room and everyone was quietly talking and playing.  NO FIGHTING!  It was simply wonderful and even the children commented on how fun and relaxing it was.

And so I go to bed content.  My list of projects is long.  My list of worries is longer.  My need to really organize our family is great.  I have much to improve in, and right now there is more I don’t like about myself than I do like.  Still, I feel that we’re putting the right pieces into place.  We’re focusing on the right habits, and soon the habits will begin to serve us.  I have great faith in the future.  I have great hope that I can become who want to become.  I know that God is aware of me and that he loves me.  I know He helps me.  I am one of the least of his daughters, but still he finds me worthy of improvement, help and comfort.  I am so deeply grateful for this.

Life is good, and I hope the week will be great.

Wishing you the best, Jennifer

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