Joy, week 34

It is such a joy to pause here, at the close of my Sabbath day.  My heart is full to overflowing and I echo the psalmist who wrote, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118:24) What a week we had!  Six children off to school in new grades, with new teachers, one of them at a new school and one of them attending all day for the first time.  We’re not in the groove yet but are well on our way.  We have yet to work through the tired stage when the newness wears off and the exhaustion sets in, but once that is done we should settle in.  It is interesting to watch different children handle the stress and excitement in various ways, a reminder to me as a mother that they need me to respond to each of them differently.  They belong to the same family but are vastly different people.

Thursday night provided an opportunity to be a friend.  I spent an hour visiting with one of the best women I know about some significant challenges she has faced for a long time.  We cried together and I love her so much.

The week flew by and we headed into a weekend which turned out to be so packed with good things that I’ve hardly held still in days.  I am exhausted but so very happy.  Friday my husband and I celebrated 16 years of marriage!  (That number is starting to sound big, and yet I don’t feel old.)  I’ve been smiling to myself all weekend that I’m so lucky to have him.  I can honestly say that in all those years there has never been a moment of doubt; he’s been the right man every single day and I’m so thankful that while life has taken a toll in other areas, it has never come between us.  He is my best friend.

Saturday morning I threw a party for my daughter’s soccer team.  I had 3 days notice to pull it off, and this was a busy week.   No big deal for some people, but it was stressful for me.  The coach ended up leaving town, other parents couldn’t come, and it looked like it would be me and 15 8th grade girls, only 4 whose names I know.  They attend at least 7 different schools and the only thing I know they have in common is soccer, but I had 2 hours to fill with non-soccer activities for them.  I combed the internet for ideas, brainstormed activities, and yes, prayed for help.  I had the idea to call a good friend, took frantic notes while she rattled off several ideas, got off the phone and literally jumped for joy (and relief).  I was able to combine all the ideas, did some hunting at dollar stores to find what I needed and it all came together.  We had an awesome party.  All of the girls were laughing almost the entire time.  They walked away with new memories and better friendships.  The biggest hit of the day?  A game we played with a plastic rat.  Yes, you read that right.  When the party was over they organized a second round and played until their parents dragged them away.

I’ve always stressed over parties.  I’ve never felt as comfortable in a large group as I feel in one-on-one interactions, so I’m intimidated by planning for the big groups because I don’t like them.  This is an area where I’ve known I need to grow, especially for my kids, and I would like to make it a strength instead of a weakness.   Thanks to the help of a friend, many hours of planning, and help from the Lord, I feel like I took a huge step forward in that area.  To my surprise, I’m excited about doing another one, and am considering offering to do one for my younger daughter’s team.  I’m going to start a file and a box of supplies so I can get really good at it.  What a happy blessing!

I came home from the party to rescue the house from a week of wild and my brother and his two boys flew into town.  It was great to see them and fun to watch the boys run like a little wolf pack together.  We also had teenagers and neighbors over, so it was fun to have a couple dozen people running around having fun all day.  They flew out this morning, so it was a quick trip, but we loved having them here.

That brings me to today.  {Happy sigh.}  Have you ever had a great idea, an idea so great it could only come from a loving Heavenly Father, and you knew it was the right thing to do, but you needed a lot of people to buy in to make it work?  Well, I had one of those ideas.  A year ago today, to be exact.  When I wrote down my goals for the year I penciled it in and a couple of weeks ago I crossed my fingers and set the ball rolling.   To my delight, everyone else was as excited about it as I was, and we had a huge surprise birthday party in my backyard tonight for a very special lady.  I’ve been smiling all day.   I watched this sweet lady walk around at church today in her simple way and say “Hello! Today’s my birthday!” and everyone greeted her with a twinkle in their eyes and we all looked at each other with a special smile because we knew something she didn’t.  It worked.  It was like a dream come true.  I got down on my knees and cried tears of joy for a simple idea and for wonderful people who ran with it.  What a lucky girl I am!

So the weekend is over and I’m headed to bed later than I’d like (again).  It occurred to me tonight that there are probably a few unfinished math assignments in backpacks because we’ve ran so crazy all weekend that I never asked or checked.  Such is life.  We’ll do extra work tomorrow and I’m happy with the trade because I’m going to bed with a smile on my face.

And a head full of ideas.  We have more celebrating to do next weekend.

Life is so, so good.

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