Category Archives: Project Choice

We Survived!

interruptThis week, some of us experienced our first teary-Kindergarten-first-day (maybe their tears, maybe yours.)  Some of us experienced Senior-year-last-first day and then there are a whole bunch of us that fall somewhere in between or outside of those back-to-school lines.  But, we all survived the first week!  Ok, so I will concede that while our actual survival was never in question the upheaval of a sudden schedule to conform to after 3 months of “free-styling it” can be a little rough on even the best of us.

Back to school is always a transition, and the calendar can become a to-do list nightmare, not to mention the very real reminder of the passing of time.  Navigating these waters can be tricky and today I want to offer some encouragement from Mary Ann Morgan.

When we moved to our little farm 15 years ago, I was a busy homeschool mom with three children under my wings.

My life was wonderfully hectic. Katie was twelve, Annie was ten, and Johnny was seven. I was happy as the nucleus of our home, with life swirling round and round about me.

Then, one by one, my birdies did what I had been teaching them to do all along.

They flew away. 

I felt lost, and not just a little. I could not find my bearings.

I was trying to find my place in this world again.

When we see calendars not so much as rows of boxes of things we have to do — but as boxes that we get to unwrap —  the present moment always becomes a gift.

The idea that I could continually unwrap gifts (that otherwise felt fleeting) just by writing them down and giving thanks for them was transformational for me.

I am grateful for:

glistening water from the garden hose,
summer lights hanging dreamily from a tree,
blue porches and red swings, ripe tomatoes on the sill, children snuggling chickens,
a butterfly warming her wings among Black-Eyed Susans,
fuzzy bumble bees satiated and sleepy,
summer puddles where heaven meets earth.

And on and on it goes.

I could feel my heart shifting from a sense of emptiness into a deep gratitude. The places I felt were barren were actually brimming with life.

It didn’t come overnight, but it did come with practice and the more I practiced the more I benefited.

I sometimes find myself held captive by grief and anxiety as I navigate the waters of these awkward transitions. Counting graces always helps me to find my way home into worship. Once I can get onto the path of worship, my feet will carry me into the arms of God

I may not always know my place in this world. Things are ever changing.

But in counting gifts I can always find my place in God.  

In His heart.

He alone holds me as He continues to enfold me in His love.

Enjoy your weekend! May your heart be filled with gratitude and the beauty in the everyday gifts as we roll on into this next school year.  May you find yourself enfolded in His love.

My Memory Problem

this is the dayI want to remember today.  I want to pluck this ordinary morning memory of trying to rouse sleepy kids, of packing lunches and searching for missing shoes and belts, and breakfasts grabbed on the go and just put it away for later.  I want to remember the promised prayers for what their day held, for the anxieties that worry their hearts. I want to remember the way they looked on their way to the bus with their backpacks and lunchboxes and sports bags because this is what makes up life.  Day after day, like building blocks, moment after moment of the ordinary that creates a life. That’s what I want to remember. I want to be able to tuck these ordinary moments away in my pocket to be pulled out on a day when the everyday doesn’t look like this anymore.  I want this for me…

I have recently found myself struggling to remember the days when these big kids were babies, trying to remember how we filled our then seemingly endless hours. How many times we would laugh at something they said or did and say, “We should write that down” but never did and the moment passed leaving us with vague recollections of everyday moments.

How many prayers have we seen answered, the big and the small? How many times has God shown up, in the chaos, in the crisis, in the mundane, in the everyday? It’s not the numbers that are important, it’s just remembering the reality of the realness in it on the days when we feel alone and find it so hard to believe, for us, for our children, for our families.

As I see how fast my babies have grown my heart becomes full and overwhelmed and I want them to know their stories from their mother’s heart.  But more than that, I want them to know the prayers I have prayed.  I want them to see and remember, on the days when jaded adult views cloud their vision, that God has proven himself over and over to them as a very real and loving Father. I want this for my kids…

And this suddenly got real for me, real like a sucker punch to the gut, as I read these words from Elisa Pulliam, “Although I have journals scribbled full with pleas and petitions to the Lord, there aren’t enough of those pages filled up with prayers for my children. I think I’ve pushed praying for my children aside because their needs feel so easily met by me at the moment.  In light of other circumstances we’ve faced, like family tensions, life-changing decisions, and health crises too many to count, my children are doing just fine.  Fine is fine.  But for how long?  Their lives will only get more “un-fine” as they grow up which is why they need their momma praying for them on purpose…now.”

“So, as I turn to face the next decade of being a mother, I want to invest my time in bringing more than passing pleas to the Lord  I want to pause long enough to reflect on their needs and pray for them the way I’d want to be prayed for by others.  I want to give to the Lord what I see in their personalities that need His touch.  I want to talk to God about the struggles they face and the fears they feel.  I want to hand over to their Maker my concerns about their relationships. I want to yield to the Lord His plans for their lives and get out of the way of the story He is writing.”

Today, I begin.  I begin praying with a purpose and recording their stories. Today, I am going to stop beating myself up for not starting earlier and while I don’t know exactly what the end product is going to look like I am not going to get caught up in that. I am just going to look to right now, to the things that I am thankful for, prayerful over, or laugh about and I am going to share my heart with them for a day when they will need to remember. And I am going to do this, one step at a time.

Maybe you will be compelled to join me, for a child, for a friend, or maybe you need to begin to see more of God in your everyday just for you.  Maybe you need to become more purposeful in prayer and in building your relationship with God.  Let’s do this together! Make today your day.

journals

Just Say No…

to back to school!

This is a campaign that I feel like starting this year.  I want to JUST SAY NO! No, you can’t have my kids back yet. No, we are not going to be doing homework while the sun shines outside.  No, I am sorry, we just aren’t ready to check back into reality yet.  I need to have them for just a little bit longer.  Summer isn’t over yet, in fact, the weather is just now starting to feel like it’s arrived. The fun hasn’t all been had!

The back-to-school grumblings have been voiced by us all but the only tears this year have been mine. Another season of change lies ahead and the pieces of my babies that belonged to me becomes less and less every year and the letting go is so hard.

Can someone please tell me when this happened?  A whole decade has passed since our first, 1st day of school.

IMG_3614IMG_3613 Change…this is where our journey is going to begin and I would love to have you join me. This has been building in my heart over the last couple of weeks, “Project Choice” with ideas like Thankful Boxes and Everyday Letters.  It’s about trying to find your place again if you’ve lost your bearings.  It’s about sharing, and remembering, everyday life.  It’s about searching for something bigger than just comfortable.

But for this morning, before I clean up from our disjointed, first-day-back-trying-to-get-out-the-door-on-time-mess, I am going to take a moment and linger over these pictures and first day memories for a little bit. Mamas, it happens so fast, so just hold on.

And, because this is one of my favorites, every word of it ringing true in my heart…grab a tissue (or the whole box)