A Year of Habits, no. 45

Here we are.  November marches on and the holiday season approaches.

If you looked at my laundry room right now, you’d think that things are under control.  I’m all caught up; it’s washed, folded, put away and the house is relatively clean.  If you looked at my studio, you’d wonder what kind of explosion happened in there, and once I assured you there wasn’t one you’d recognize the mess as evidence of a woman whose mind is racing with too many ideas, too many plans, too many projects (along with a few invasions by a certain two year old I adore).  I know I should slow down, cross some of it off the list, and relax.  I can’t.  There is too much I want to do, too much I have to do, and too many special things upcoming for me not to work like a crazy woman in every spare minute I can find.  I do feel like I’m keeping it all in perspective, which is why the laundry is done.  I’m learning to squeeze things into tiny pinches of time without throwing off the family (or maybe I’m dreaming, and just wish I could learn that, but I really am trying).

Let’s see, how did the week go?

Well, in some ways it went really well.  I went from feeling deeply discouraged about my ability and potential in raising teenagers, and if I’m really humble I’ll admit to some discouragement about the ability and potential of the teenagers as well.  Seriously, where are their brains?  But that’s not worth discussing now, because if anybody knew the answer to that question I wouldn’t be asking.  Oh, how I wish I had some experience in this area!  I took a step back, prayed a lot, tried to do a better job of listening, tried to understand my role as a parent, and really sought to feel and communicate more love.  It helped.  It didn’t change the child, but it tempered my behavior, which is really all I can control, and I feel thankful.  I do feel like, although I’m still a rookie and don’t know anything, I’m growing as a mother.  I’m slowly getting better.  As for a soft reply, let’s just say that when a certain teenager slammed into a wall today and made an 8 inch strip of plaster fall off, I had nothing negative to say.   That wouldn’t have happened a few months ago.

In the same area, I tried to connect with my children this week and felt that I had some really good experiences with many of them.  I have one child who has really struggled with her homework.  She avoids it and often cries for more than an hour over her math homework.  This after being a math whiz last year!  I have prayerfully tried to help her and we had a small breakthrough this week.

Healthy eating.  I haven’t mentioned this for a few weeks because I haven’t made any progress and it’s been difficult to motivate myself to be super strict.  I have, however, kept the weight I lost off, and am slowly working my way to where I need to be.

Housekeeping.  These habits were among those that weighed heavily on me at the beginning of the year.  I have some areas that still need help, like the bathrooms, where I need to work out a better schedule for staying on top of them (like maybe clean them all every 30 minutes?) but in other areas I’ve really gained ground this year.  The children are much better at maintaining their bedrooms, the toy room is clean most nights, and while things can get torn apart in 15 minutes flat, I can put them back together pretty quickly too.  This weekend we cleaned out the van and organized the bike/toy/random everything area of the garage.  The basement was also addressed.  I’m working hard and it feels good.

Creativity.  I am so grateful for every opportunity to be creative, and feel blessed to have fit some of those moments into the week.  It really calms me down.

I was thinking this week that my record keeping has really fallen off this year.  While I’ve grown in my capacity to recognize the Lord’s hand in my life, I haven’t written those experienced down enough, and my miracle box is lacking many of  little details which would have been such a blessing to go back and read.  I feel a little sad about that and wish I’d done a better job of adding that layer to our lives.  I also haven’t written in the childrens’ journals for a while and I need to repent.  I’ve had to become more strict with myself about getting to bed at night so I can get us going in the mornings and I haven’t left room anywhere for that kind of record keeping.  I need to schedule time to capture all that I can still remember.

While we’re on the topic of poor performance, I haven’t been a very good friend.  In some ways I think I’m a great friend, but the stage I’m in is so intense from early morning until late at night without a pause that I’ve fallen out of the habit of fitting in time to nurture friendships.   It’s not something I ever thought would happen to me, and I certainly didn’t plan it, but here I am and it makes me feel so sad.  I want to work at being a better friend.

On Friday we raised the flag for Veteran’s Day in honor of my Grandpa who passed away in June.  It was really sweet to watch my children do it all themselves.  We miss him and hope he knows we love and remember him.

I got to see my sister this week, and we also got to see our brother and his wife who were in town from Spokane.  We all met at the new Crate and Barrel store that opened Friday in Utah.  Hooray for my favorite store!  And hooray for a mini reunion!  There were some things I would have loved to buy, but I was good and left them all there.

You know, life is crazy.  But it’s also wonderful.  I’m learning to smile more at both the good and bad.  I’m so grateful to be alive.


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