Joy, week 8

Tonight’s picture of my daughter peering through the “O” in Joy is a good representation of the week.  It’s in the middle of the word, and I feel like I’m in the middle of a lot of things right now.  Let’s be honest, the middle is usually the messiest, least pretty stage in most endeavors, and my middle feels a little ugly right now.  So I’m somewhere in between the J and the Y in this mission of mine to seek and find greater joy in my daily life.  There have been joyful moments and terribly discouraging moments, but a conversation with my parents tonight combined with a few other thoughts and conversations throughout the week made me decide that for now I’m going to focus on the happy parts of being in the middle.  Happy things like that sweet little girl’s face above.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m reading a book about creativity.  It’s slow going because it sits in my purse and I only read it when I’m waiting in the car for some reason and there isn’t some other crisis to take care of.  This week I read a chapter that I particularly liked.  The chapter is about how to get good ideas, how to unearth them and grab them.  I realize that right now, in my efforts to live more joyfully, I’m doing some scratching for ideas.  I’m looking for little things I can change, small adjustments I can make, to feel better about what I’m doing even when it’s crazy.  Because let me tell you, my life sure feels crazy, and if I were to really get going and describe some of it for you, you’d agree with me that it sure sounds crazy.  There is just SO much going on in our home and SO much of it depends on me.  That isn’t going to change anytime soon, so I’m scratching for ideas to make this stage more fun and rewarding for myself, in healthy ways.  And when you’re in the middle you usually have some things that are working and some things that aren’t working yet and some things you have yet to implement and some things that need tweaking.  And that pretty much sums up my life.

So I let myself spend a few minutes most days at the sewing machine.  I enjoy feeling like I get something permanent done, something I can SEE.  The bottom line is that my life is going to be crazy for a long time.  This “middle” I’m talking about isn’t an overnight experience.  The middle of “joy” might be short but the middle in my life reads more like the middle of “supercalifragilisticexpealidocous.”  It’s going to take some time.  I need to enjoy the process.  Therefore, fifteen minutes of sewing is a good investment.

My house needs help.  You might think I’m exaggerating but I’m not.  It really needs some help and I’m hoping to provide that help this week.  I think I’m starting to get over my cold, and if that’s true then there’s reason to believe I might be able to do it.  If I can keep the schedule under control, that is.  There is this very fine line between serving your children and leaving their messes for them to clean up, between teaching responsibility and work and keeping things looking nice enough for mom to be satisfied.  These balances are fairly simple to maintain when we’re not as busy, but when we’re running crazy it’s much more difficult.  We’re really busy.

We had more Parent/Teacher conferences this week and they went well.  Thank goodness!  We had lots of friends over to play.   My seven year old went to her first piano lesson and really liked it (I knew she would, but it did take an ice cream cone to convince her to try).  I went to a great Church activity with my daughter.  We had lacrosse practices, soccer practices, futsal games, birthday parties, snowboarding, choir practices and so forth.  My two year old hasn’t slept well and I’ve had some tender moments in the night when I gathered her into my arms as she cried, “Mommy I want you!”  Every time she says that I remind myself how lucky I am to hear it.  My four year old said some incredibly cute things to me.  She’s really into pinkie promises right now for some reason.  She asks me to pinkie promise her things that are important to her, and it’s quite cute.  Last night she was watching a movie and a character in the story didn’t do something they had committed to do.  She said to me, “They should have pinkie promised.”  So cute.

It sounds silly to say that my children got their homework done, but really it’s huge.  With six children all having homework daily, and all their different reading levels and materials, it takes me at least a couple of hours to get it taken care of.  Sometimes it takes me much longer, like on Thursday night when I was up until 1:30 a.m. with my son, who had to be at school before 6:45 a.m. Friday morning.  But it got done, and sometimes that is victory enough for an entire week.

My planning needs work.  I missed my weekly planning this morning because I had to get my son up for a service opportunity and never managed to work it in later in the day.

I’m doing really well in my goal to talk to my friends more often.  I am so grateful for the blessing of holy scripture to read and study from.  I am incredibly grateful for prayer.  The thing I’ve learned about prayer is that rarely does an answered prayer give me LESS to do.  Most of the time my work load increases.  Lately I feel tired and worn out, but it’s a happy tired in some ways because I know that I’m doing the things I should be doing.  It’s a happy tired because I’m seeking God’s help with my priorities.  I’m not doing them perfectly but I’m getting better and that is all I can control.

So I’m off to try again tomorrow, to remember to pause in the middle of things and remind myself that this is it, that now is the time to find something to be happy about.

Life is good!

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