Celebrating the Secret of Content

Sunday after church, we are sitting over spaghetti discussing the highs and lows of our weekend.  It takes longer when given more than one day to process, but we are in no hurry.  Sunday afternoon looms large.

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Popular “high” answers include a visiting nephew, a successful wrestling tournament, a new driver’s license.  The unity of celebratory events does not escape me as these moments are, ultimately, the ties that bind.  String them together and they are beaded cords of days, months, years which we will one day perceive from a distance with a piercing combination of loss and joy, this dichotomy one of the most powerful emotions of the human heart.

And then the “lows:” Tales of worn-out brake pads, leaving a loved one at the airport, too much homework before Monday.

It is in these precious, unhurried moments of quiet listening and reflection that it dawns on me: Today, sitting over spaghetti with my family on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I can’t think of even one single low.  Not one.  At all.

I am utterly….contentedly….soulfully…..happy.

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At 45 years old, twenty-two years of marriage to Fireman, three half-grown children, years of church/family/friends relationships, and a roller coaster of life circumstances,  how deeply do I appreciate that I have not arrived at this place quickly, easily, nor obediently.  I admit I unfriended Idealism in my 30’s.  At some point, I swapped my rose-colored glasses for readers which, quite frankly, are much more practical.

Like Paul in Philippians, I certainly do know what it is to be in need physically, emotionally, spiritually.  I  also, all glory to Him, have a small concept of plenty.

But Paul’s secret of contentment has been elusive, a concept of head more than heart because really, aren’t we all, if we’re honest, striving for something more? Working toward the next thing?  Wishing this were different, that were better….that WE were better?

This Sunday, gazing at my people face-to-face, basking in their company and humors and shared lives, taking every possible cell of them in to me with abundant joy, immense gratefulness at the privilege of being me ~

Me in this place ~

Me at this moment ~

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I sense what it means to wear pure contentment as a royal robe, and to receive it as the precious gift that it most truly is … a gift from a God who most truly loves.

And I will delight in a most holy celebration of its secret.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes, They are A’comin’ ~

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I’m popping on here quickly this afternoon to update you on some changes taking place with my blog.  I am in the process of switching my blogging platform to WordPress, so I have been redesigning a few things and educating myself in areas I didn’t even know existed.  I’m being brave, ya’ll!!

Some of you may have noticed when you typed in my old url that you were redirected to this new site…and that’s a GOOD thing, because it means the html I copied, pasted, and formatted actually worked.

Bear with me as I tweak and adjust things around here.  I’m already liking the more open feel and format, but I need to work on many more details before it’s where I want it to be.

Baby steps….baby steps.

Lessons I’ve Learned About Blogging and Home

I’ve been picking away at this blog for over five years now.  It began with dreams of beautiful home photos, helpful DIY tutorials, and a longing to be included in a community of like-minded bloggers whom I respect and admire.

In actuality, my blogging road has been somewhat lonely.

I’ve broken all the blogging rules that say I must do the following to have a successful blog:

  1. Post 2-3 times a week.
  2. Read and comment on several blogs daily to initiate and maintain relationships.
  3. Research trends, advertise, and switch to WordPress.
  4. Write what my audience wants to hear, not what I want to write.

And so on and so forth.

It’s a journey, but I won’t lie and say my head isn’t constantly swirling with ideas on where I would like this blogging adventure to go, ways I would like to be more pro-active on the site, risks I would like to take with my writing, classes I would love to take in photography.

What a dream come true it would be to have the readership and influence of blogs like Miss Mustard Seed, Thistlewood Farm, Rooms for Rent, Chatting at the Sky, and Liz Marie Blog.  These talented bloggers are blessed with platforms that enable them to speak hope, encouragement, and faith into thousands of women around the world.  Such a tremendous gift…but a gift which also brings enormous commitment and responsibility.

Which is always the rub, isn’t it?  Because for me, the one thing that has continually pulled me away from this computer and my blogging journey more than any other single entity is this:

My beloved family.

And I won’t regret it for even one single moment.

Since starting this blog, I tried working outside the home at my kids’ elementary school for one year.  The result of that endeavor was to bring everyone back home in 2012 where we homeschooled for three years.  The kids were in 7th, 5th and 2nd grades at the time.  (They are now in 10th, 8th, and 5th, attending wonderful local schools, and thriving in spite of my uncertainty.)  I will always look back at our homeschool years as the most precious in my parenting.  Countless lunches around the counter with Dad (as a Fireman he’s often home during the day), problem solving with math manipulatives at the kitchen table, crafting Roman roads from sand and rock, planting individual garden boxes in the yard, reciting poetry and Bible verses together each morning.  Never, ever will I regret one single moment of those priceless shared days with my three children.  It was where my heart and my time were the very best spent.

Blogging played an important second fiddle during those years, serving as a quick oasis for my creativity, writing, and home projects.  Times when I longed to spend more hours here were continually sacrificed for higher callings, and I won’t regret it.

Sometimes in the midst of homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, laundry, sports and church activities, I would question how on earth successful blogging moms did it all.  Even after blogging for a short time, I fully appreciated the tremendous time it takes to document projects on camera or take photos of rooms when well-lit with natural sunlight (in Alaska this window of time is VERY narrow), and then to download and edit the photos, upload them to your blog while crafting a detailed post about them that is well-worded and error-free (without interruption, or course, so your train of thought remains clear)…and let me tell you, people, it takes HOURS

Time and again, in every midst of my blogging endeavor,  the precious people called my family would inevitably call my name….or need my help…..or were hungry….or wanted to talk….or were unable to find an item…..or needed a ride….or just.  Needed me.

My full attention.  My focused eye contact.  My presence alongside.

Presently each one, upon arriving home at different times, will meander through the house until he or she finds me and is assured:  Mom is home, she is here, and all is well.

Even at their older ages, something deep inside still needs me, and I’m reminded of my mom telling me this many years ago…

So I stop what I’m doing.  I look into eyes.  I turn my body to face theirs.  I take my hands from the keyboards.  I walk away from the screen.  I put my camera down.  I close the door on my project.

And let me tell you, it’s not always easy.  I’ve wrestled with carving parameters of “Mom’s Blog Time” or “Mom’s Project Time,” and over the years I think we’ve achieved a healthy balance.

But when given the choice of how I spend my time when my family is home, the answer for me continues to be simple, and it is this:

My people are always the right choice 

This year has been different for me as I am home daily for the first time in 16 years, each child heading out the door in the morning, leaving me ~ and sometimes Fireman ~ alone for the day.  At first giddy and beside myself with anticipation, in actuality it’s taken intense adjusting, hard-pressed talks with myself about identity and purpose, and many hours of soul-searching before God to hear of guidance and calling and clarity.

The good news is that He is speaking and I am learning to tarry with Him, to listen more closely, and to hear more clearly.

With His assurance, I am in good Hands.

Either directly or indirectly, the following verses have shaped my heart and mind over the years as a wife, mom and homemaker.  I have personalized the wording; I hope they speak encouragement and wisdom to you as well.

 
Unless our home is built by and for the Lord, 
we labor in vain. (Psalm 127:1)
 
The greatest love we show 
is in laying down our lives for others. (John 15:13)
 
He will make all things beautiful, even blogs:),
in His perfect time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)