Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Friday, January 28, 2011

We're Still Alive

Hi all! I've been gone a long time, I know. That does seem to be the way things go in the winter around here. I get so busy with the formal education of my children, and my attempt to remain even slightly organised with so many irons in the fire. It feels a bit like juggling dinner plates, only I drop a lot of them. I'm not always OK with the fact that I really can't do all of my jobs well, and in my attempt I end up with what feels like a barely adequate job at each. Many times each year I reevaluate each "plate" to see if I really need to include it in the act. Some of them go by the wayside for a time to be picked up later. Here are some of the plates(each one important to me)that I'm evaluating now.
Relationship with my Savior: This is primary for me. I often neglect this one, I'm sorry to have to confess. It's because He's such a gentleman. He never throws a fit if I neglect Him. I don't have to be sure there's something for Him to pack in his lunch or cookies for after lunch. He doesn't need his clothes cleaned or his bath, and I don't have to teach him arithmetic or how to load the dish washer properly. In fact, if I fail to keep this relationship well, He can become quite invisible. That is, until my plates begin to fall in rapid succession. I realize at that point that I've lost my peace and joy, and my life feels precarious to say the least. I need that time of prayer and meditation for refreshment to stay sane. This has to be my first priority!
Relationship with spouse: This is very important. If it's really true that, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" then it is equally true of Papa! By the way, we're about to celebrate our 15th anniversary! I'm so happy that he's the one I'll be celebrating with. If you've ever seen Marley and Me, it's a fairly realistic representation of our lives together. Their struggles were so common to us. Watching it seemed to be watching ourselves grow up in our relationship together. Not in every way, but many - minus Marley. We have a dog, Katie, but we got her after 10 years of marriage and when the kids were 2, 4, 7 and 9. It's the struggles as young parents that are so similar to us. Parenting young children is so consuming in time and energy. It is such a blessing, but it takes it's toll on life as well.
Relationship with kids: This one has so many facets. There's the actual interpersonal relationships with each of them. These are one of the reasons I set about educating them at home. These relationships are among the most precious of all to me. However, the other "plates" often distract me from these relationships. This isn't OK with me, but how do I change it? There are SO MANY PLATES!

Another facet in the relationship with my children is their actual education: This should probably be in a category of its own. This is a major undertaking that gets bigger every year. There are all the subjects that the Department of Education deems important to teach, and well as guiding them in life skills that will be so important to them as they grow up. All this while still maintaining relationships and attempting to keep that "fire" lit in them. The fire I speak of is that natural desire to discover and learn. It's there in all of us, but so often it's extinguished before it's joys are discovered. I so badly want to keep that fire alive in them. It's so much fun to see it burning, and to watch what they do with it. However, some of the things I find myself doing in the process of educating them is more like pouring water on their fires. I dislike those parts. I try to evaluate things so that there's more fuel on the fires than water. When life gets too busy with spinning plates, the fuel is more likely to be set aside, and the water remains. Things like memorizing multiplication facts and learning grammar. They're important. I can't cut them out! But, we need the fuel. Classic books, art projects, science experiments, living books, constructing castles, THESE are what I want more time for.
But there are still more plates: Laundry, preparing healthy meals, teaching how to do chores, pet and livestock care, maintaining organization, friends, extended family, physical fitness, financial priorities (like TAXES!)...
I was hoping that this blog post would help me clear my head and organize my priorities. I'm not so sure that's happened. Perhaps I shouldn't post for fear that it will stress you all out! ;) But, this is where I'm at right now, and so this is what I'm sharing with you. A glimpse into a life that's definitely full, usually happy, and very imperfect! This is why blog posts are few and far between in the winter.
Jesus, help me to be OK with imperfect! :)