Perfect Timing

 

leaves

 

Today we go to a viewing, and tomorrow, a double funeral. Ben’s grandparents both died this last week, within an hour and a half of each other. It has me thinking again about how the Bible says there is a time for everything.

There is a time of fullness and life, and there is a time to slow down and remember. How thankful I am for a Heavenly Father who sees and knows all, who holds all of this in His hands, and brings about the right time for everything.

 

Life With Ben

Yesterday marked 12 years of being married to Ben.

This summer has made me think about what I truly love the most about this life with Ben.

For a few weeks before my birthday in July, I daydreamed about what kind of fantastic birthday date Ben and I would go on. I thought about what kind of restaurant I most wanted to eat at, and what we might do after.

But then life happened, and on my birthday, Ben and I went to his grandma’s funeral.

It was a hard week. Ben was very close to his grandparents when he was younger, and even though I didn’t know his grandma very well, I didn’t need to, in order to know she was amazing.

So we made it through the week, and even though it’s hard to deal with death, I was glad to be there with Ben. I wanted to be there, working through all the emotions and layers of stuff that reveals itself during times like that.

A week later, we finally had the chance to go on my belated birthday date.

We did a little bit of shopping first, and then we went out for sushi. Ben wouldn’t tell me what else we were doing, which I found very strange. We drove downtown, and got there earlier than Ben had expected, so we meandered into different stores, with Ben trying to be all casual about why we weren’t just getting on with whatever the surprise was.

Turns out the surprise was Cirque du Soleil. His parents bought us tickets, and it was an unforgettable experience. I kept catching myself with my jaw hanging open in amazement. It was insane. (In the best way possible.)

We had such a great evening together.

It was slightly strange and very interesting to go through those two experiences so close together – grieving the end of a life, and then going to the circus to marvel at the capabilities of the human body at its height of strength and achievement.

Those two experiences reminded me of what my favorite thing is about being with Ben. We have gone through many highs and lows together in the last 12 years. We’ve been face with many challenges, and we figure things out. We are together in whatever is happening.

Life is happy, and Ben is there. Life is hard, and Ben’s there.

This sharing of life is so much better than I ever thought it would be, no matter what it is we are going through.

So how do you do to celebrate 12 years of life together?

It seems to require something big and extravagant, but right now our budget is not allowing loads of extravagance. No trip to Europe for this anniversary!

In the end, we went out for supper at a favorite restaurant, and then went to the park, like we always used to do when we were dating.

It was a golden evening. The sun was just right, and the geese were out in great numbers to provide entertainment. We walked and talked, and sat and talked, and we celebrated life by simply living it.

We will continue to have highs and lows, and what else is there to do, other than ride them together, accepting this life for what it is? Getting through the lows, knowing they won’t last forever, and celebrating the highs, recognizing them as little tastes of heaven.

Twelve years ago, I thought it was a pretty good idea to get married to Ben.

Now I know it was one of the very best decisions I’ll ever make in this life!

(If you feel like reading about how we met, I shared that story here and here!)

34 Days of Favorites

Well, it’s my birthday on Wednesday.

I’ve always loved birthdays. I never used to understand why Ben didn’t. He just hated getting old, and I lived in denial and enjoyed the party.

But this year the number 34 is getting to me a bit. I seem to be racing along towards 40 at an alarming pace.

My thoughts on birthdays generally stays the same, though: I love my life, I love what I’m doing and where I’m at, I wouldn’t want to go back in time, and I love everything these 34 years of living have taught me, so it is just a number that’s bothering me.

And there is no way a number is going to get me down.

We will party on towards 40.

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I have written a number of times before about my family’s tradition of recording a person’s favorite things each year on their birthday. I don’t know how many years’ worth of pages I have stating spaghetti and chocolate cake as my favorites.

Well, I’m not eating much spaghetti and chocolate cake these days anymore, and I’m learning as the years go by that change is a wonderful thing.

These birthday lists have helped me to see how each year, I have the opportunity to change my life for the better. I am intentionally making choices to learn and grow, so that on my birthday, I can look back and say, “It was a good year. Look at what I’ve learned. See how I’ve embraced change, conquered old, bad habits, and risen to the occasion.”

Other years, I’ve made posts full of long lists, but one day while I was in the shower, I had a fun idea. (All good ideas come in the shower. Have you ever noticed that?)

My fun idea was to spread it out – one favorite thing a day for 34 days. As soon as I thought it, I regretted it, because I had no idea if I could actually come up with 34 new, wonderful things I’ve experienced in the last year.

Ben said, “No problem! Of course you can do 34!”

So the stubborn side of me turned this into a challenge that must be conquered, and we’ll see how it works out.

Starting Wednesday, in honour of my birthday, I will introduce you to my favorite things right now. (To read my lists from 2010 and 2011, click on the year.)

That’s my challenge.

Your challenge is to try one of my favorite things (so it can become your favorite, too!!), leave a comment, and I’ll enter you in a draw for a prize. I’ll use my birthday money to buy you a gift!:) The more fun things you try, the more your name gets entered, and the better chance you have of receiving the prize.

Oh, fun all around for everyone!

Okay, now I’m off to keep working on my list of favorites…

Write a Good Story

If I have a hope, it’s that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, Enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you. (p.59, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years)


It’s interesting that in the Bible, in the book of Ecclesiastes, the only practical advice given about living a meaningful life is to find a job you like, enjoy your marriage, and obey God. It’s as though God is saying, Write a good story, take somebody with you, and let Me help. (p. 246-247, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years)

Isn’t that great? That last line is my favorite.

Writing a good story has been on my mind a lot in the recent weeks, for two reasons:

  1. I just finished Donald Miller‘s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, which is so good that you should really head on over to Amazon immediately to buy it. It is changing everything about the way I look at life.
  2. Everything in our lives has been changing anyway, because of moving. We are in this huge state of transitioning and starting over, so Ben and I have had many, many talks about how to start well. What do we want our story to be? How do we want this to look? What choices do we want to make which might not make sense to everyone else right now, but lead to the story we want to write, as a whole? Big questions, lots of ideas, a work in progress.

What I’m finding most often right now, is that “good” doesn’t have to be “big”. I think our culture teaches us that in order for something to be worthwhile, meaningful, and valuable, it needs to be big – big dreams, big ambition, big success.

But how often is it not the little things which really end up being the big things? The good things are the small, simple things.

If God chose to make every single sunset different and unique, just for the beauty of it, you’d think it means He’s into details. He seems to create for the pleasure of it. He made us to create, for the pleasure of it.

He also gave us the ability to experience flashes of joy from such simple things, we almost don’t notice it – flash, and then it’s gone.

But in a world with so much pain and suffering, I think the small flash is noteworthy – it gives us more joy to hang on and let it linger, and it tells us something about God’s view of size. Small flashes of joy, again and again and again, add up after awhile. He made it pretty easy for us to feel joy, but He often does so in the small things.

So basically, I’m learning about living a good life, writing a good story, and realizing that it’s found in the little things, in holding onto the quick flashes.

It’s the everyday stuff, like loving my family, going off on an adventure, and finding Jesus in all of it.

Now you should go buy Donald Miller’s book. ūüôā

Tips For Purging

I am in pursuit of a simple, joyful life.

Lately, I’ve been achieving this through purging. Who knew there could be so much magic in the act of purging?!

I wrote a post on Friday about how purging is changing the way I feel about my life, but since then, I’ve been thinking there’s a lot more to be said about the topic.

Getting rid of stuff can be hard to do. It can be even harder to get your family on board, so today, I’m going to share with you a few of the practical tips I’ve been using to help my family purge along with me!

1. Provide physical evidence of what items do not get used.

Toys – I used to think our girls played with all the toys they owned. Maybe not all the time, but we don’t have tons of toys, and surely they would miss some of those fantastic toys if I just got rid of them.

Just to be sure, I put the toys to the test. I arranged a number of toys in a corner of our living room where they would be easily accessible, and over the next few days, I watched to see which ones my girls grabbed first. After a week, there were some that had never been touched. Out they went! The girls never even noticed.

Clothes A few years ago, Ben needed a little enlightenment. He was CONVINCED that he truly did wear all of his clothes in our closet. I was pretty positive he didn’t.

I had read in some organizing book that a simple way of testing this is to turn around all of your hangers so they’re hanging “backwards”. On laundry day, when you’re hanging up all the clean clothes, turn the hanger back so it’s hanging the way it normally does, and after a few weeks, you’ll have a pretty good idea, from the direction of your hangers, which items are not being worn.

I did this without telling Ben. He noticed the hangers looking a little funny, but never thought any further about it, and I never said anything. After a few months, I finally told him my little secret, and convinced him to get rid of almost all of his unused clothing. (Some really dressy stuff just isn’t used regularly, but we still needed to keep it.)

And apparently, we absolutely need to keep the sports jersey collection from around the world. Even if they aren’t worn, like…ever.

2. Get rid of things in stages.

A Box of Extras –¬†Some things are just hard to get rid of. I get that. But it doesn’t mean they should be kept. For myself, I’m finding that if I don’t purge until it hurts a bit, I’m probably not getting rid of enough.

But sometimes, you just can’t let go. Ben has a navy fleece hoodie he really doesn’t wear, but he is unwilling to part with it. He believes a day will come when that hoodie will be¬†the only article of clothing which will perfectly suit his needs.

And that’s fine. It’s his clothing, and I’m not going to bully him into getting rid of it. But he is okay with me putting a box on a shelf in our closet marked “Ben’s Extra Clothing”, where he can pull it out if he needs to. He’s agreed that if he hasn’t used the clothing in that box one year from now, we can get rid of it at that point.

I use the same method for our bathroom. I have a bin in our linen closet for items I’m not sure if we need, so we’ll wait for awhile, and if, in a few months, we haven’t taken anything out, I’ll feel okay about getting rid of everything.

The Second Sweep – I had already gone through our closet within the last six months, and there were some items I knew deep down I didn’t really use, but I just wasn’t ready to part with them. I left them in the farthest corning of the closet, rather than getting rid of them.

This time, I’m ruthless. It all goes. And somehow, something’s changed in the last six months. I¬†almost got rid of stuff last time, and this time I’m actually able to let go. (Good grief, you’d think we were talking about something important here, but it’s just clothes! Still, it can be really hard!)

I thought it was just me, but then I read this blog post about going over things a second time, to get rid of even more. And that’s okay! Whether it’s a box to save for later, or going through things a second time, it’s okay to take some time to sort things out. Do what you need to do.

3. Get rid of the guilt.

Gifts –¬†The most common reason I keep things is because of guilt. What if the person who gave me this item asks about it? (Do they ever?) What if they happen to see it at the thrift store I bring it to? (Seriously, what are the chances of that actually happening? Bring it to a thrift store far away from them!)

What I’ve come to realize is that whether the item was a gift or not, it’s still just STUFF. That person gave me stuff. Why? Because they love me, and wanted to express it in physical form. They wanted to bring pleasure to my life with an act of thoughtfulness and kindness.

And that is wonderful. I will bask in the kindness of receiving a gift from someone who loves me. I will focus on the intent behind the gift given. If I need  it and can use it, I will certainly do so.

If I¬†¬†can’t make use of it, I will still be grateful for their thoughtfulness…and then I will send the gift to the thrift store. That may sound a little harsh, but for the sake of letting go of guilt and objects I do not need or want, I am¬†choosing to think about the feelings behind the act of giving, rather than the object given.

Mistakes I Purchased –¬† I should not have bought that shirt. It fits funny. We did not need that popcorn popper, seeing as we never eat popcorn. I thought we might start eating it, but we didn’t.

I keep stuff because I think I should be using it.

No, I shouldn’t. We use what we use. I should not have to force myself to use our stuff. IT IS STUFF. If we haven’t used it yet, there’s an extremely good chance we never will.¬†Get rid of it.

For some good reading on the emotions we attach to the things we own, read this post.

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And what if I suddenly realize we need an item we no longer have because I got rid of it?

Well, in all my years of moving and purging and simplifying, I don’t even remember it happening, until this last week! Anika came home from Awana and announced that she needed to wear green for St. Patrick’s Day this week.

Her only green shirt was in one of the eight boxes I had packed up to send to the thrift shop.

I had two choices – go through all those boxes (Please don’t make me!!), or buy a new green shirt for Anika.

But then I thought a little longer, and realized I had a few more options – she could borrow one from a friend, or I could look through a boxful of clothes that are a size too big for her, and waiting to be used next year. For one night, she could wear a shirt a size too big.

And guess what – there was a green shirt!! I was saved from the first two options, thank goodness!!

Moral of the Story: If you get rid of something you later end up needing, you might be able to find a way around it. It will just take some effort and creativity, but is that so bad?

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Your turn! I am eagerly awaiting any purging tips you care to share!

Why We’re Leaving Camp

Thank you all so much for your kind comments, emails, facebook messages, etc. It’s been hard to share our news with everyone. We’re excited about what the future holds, but also know that we will miss camp and all the people very, very much.

A number of you have been asking about what’s next, and how it came to be, so I thought it might be good to share a bit of the process we went through in reaching our decision to leave camp. In the years that Ben and I have been in ministry, the topic most people seem to be struggling with is figuring out what God’s will is for their life. I’m sure most Christians have wished, at one point or another, that God would speak in a loud, obvious voice, and reveal “The Plan”.

But when is it ever that easy?

However, I have learned from our past experiences that there are many blessings to be found in the search for God’s will. Times of facing the unknown have led to growth and deeper trust in my Father who knows what is best. These times force me to rely on Him in the way I should be all the time.

Ben and I have had to make a number of tough choices over the years, which I’ve written about in my blog series “Chucking the Five-Year Plan”.

But this time, the decision seemed even harder than others we’ve had to make in the past.

Although Ben and I always wanted the chance to work at camp, and have loved being here, it has been hard in a lot of ways. There were a number of concerns we’ve had, in regards to how long we would stay at camp, including:

1) Anika’s schooling and being involved in various opportunities as she gets older

2) My health challenges and the need for very regular appointments with my beloved chiropractor, physio and massage therapists

3) Finances (we were spending a lot of our savings on getting to appointments in the city), and different choices for our future

4) The demanding schedule and symptoms of burn-out sneaking up on us, even though we love the ministry we do

One of these reasons alone would not have been enough to convince us to leave camp. But before Christmas, we spent many evenings sitting on our couch, talking and praying about what we should do.

During that time, Ben’s dad came along and said, “Want to work for me?” And Ben said, “Maybe I will.” To which Ben’s dad replied, Are you serious??

This is not the first time the idea has come up, but every other time, our answer has been no. We have absolutely loved being involved in full-time ministry. Ben knew that at some point in his life, he wanted to get involved in business in some way, but until now, the time never felt right.

Even though we were interested in the idea of Ben working with his dad, we still had no idea if that was what we were supposed to do. We didn’t know if it was the right time to leave, or what God wanted us to be doing once we were done at camp. We had no idea where we wanted to live.

All along, I had imagined that when it was time to leave camp, God would miraculous produce some kind of awesome, exciting new ministry opportunity that was obviously such a perfect fit, we’d have to be blind to miss it. That’s kind of how He’d done it in the past! I was expecting a repeat.

One evening, in the midst of our confusion, I was expressing my frustration with God to Ben. I went on and on about how I had imagined God would reveal Himself, and how I just longed for the perfect solution to come along – the right job, in the right place, the right fit for our family, and why was God not producing this for us? Right now? And suddenly, I realized that He already kind of had – it just wasn’t a job in ministry.

The opportunity to work with Ben’s dad provided answers to many questions we had. It fit very well, in many different ways. It just wasn’t what I had always expected we would do.

From that point on, I allowed myself to be more open to whatever God was going to reveal, even if it meant that we would, for the first time in almost 11 years, not be involved in full-time ministry.

Details started falling into place, and as Ben and I talked and prayed, we began to see more and more reasons why taking a break from ministry might be a very good thing for our family. Camp is a bubble. It’s a wonderful bubble, but it’s still a bubble. Along with many other positive things, living here has provided us with the opportunity to pull away from a lot of the pressures of our culture, giving us the space to figure out what we want for our life, our family, our faith, and it’s been good.

But it would be unhealthy to live in a bubble forever. We are trying to minister to real people who live in the real world…that we ourselves haven’t been a part of for five years.

I want to have neighbors, and I want to minister to people, not because I’m paid to do it, but because as a follower of Jesus, there is no other way to live.

So we sat there talking on our couch, realizing there was a door of opportunity open before us, but we still didn’t know if God wanted us to walk through it.

Then at Christmas, we listened to an amazing message by Bruxy Cavey, in which he talked about the birth of Jesus.

He spoke about how it had been prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem many, many years before it actually happened. It had to happen that way. And yet when the time came, Mary and Joseph did not receive a miraculous sign, or an angel telling them to go to Bethlehem.

They went to Bethlehem because a census was being taken, and that was just where normal life brought them. The wise men followed a star, and the shepherds got a choir of angels, but all Mary and Joseph got was a census.

Sometimes, God’s will is accomplished just by living an ordinary life. By simply making logical choices.

I keep expecting things to be crazy, exciting and miraculous all the time, if God is truly in it.

But the truth is, a lot of the time, He’s in the ordinary stuff. And He makes the ordinary stuff crazy, exciting and miraculous, because He is truly in it.

I still can’t say, with absolute certainty, that I know how to determine God’s will. Ben and I have talked about how we turn it into this big, “One Right Decision” kind of a thing. But it’s life, and we’re not perfect, and God knows we’ll make mistakes. He gave us the ability to think logically about things, and He gave us the freedom to choose.

We hope that we’re making a very good choice. We feel as though God has guided us in this choice. We also feel that life in general has pointed us in this direction. We’ll take the open door, and we’ll keep trusting and looking to God for the crazy, exciting, and miraculous.

And it turns out that we will be doing this in Niverville. Who would have thought? Not me! Life is full of surprises.

What Potty Training is Teaching Me About Life

We are potty training these days.

I hate to even write that, because it sounds so official. If I wouldn’t tell anyone that we actually were, and things were going badly, we could just stop and try again later. Like in a year or two, after I’d recovered. (I’m not the hugest fan of potty training.)

But now it’s out there, and we will be official, and we will do it. Potty train or bust.

There are a couple of reasons why I have not been looking forward to this process. It takes so much discipline and commitment, and involves cleaning up so many messes. But most of all, I feel a sense of failure because I should know what I’m doing, but I don’t have a clue. I’ve done this all before, and I don’t really have an excuse for feeling so lost and uncertain as to how to proceed.

Anika uses the toilet every day, very effectively. But I don’t have a clue how we got to this point. I seem to have blocked that time period out of my mind. I remember that I did not enjoy it, but I do not know how we did it.

I had a lot of thinking to do before we started potty training Kaylia. I asked other people lots of questions, and read some books, and figured out a few things.

Basically, I figured out that this process will just be unpleasant. We’re dealing with poop and pee here. There’s no way around that.

I think that last time, with Anika, I tried to ease into the whole process as gently as possible, and avoid as many messes as we could.

And it took forever for her to catch on. No mess equals no motivation. For her or for me. And potty training went on for a year…I think. Like I said, my memory is quite foggy in that department.

So this time, I decided to accept the mess. To embrace it, even.

And that has made all the difference. I am actually anticipating the mess each day, because the only way Kaylia is going to learn to use the toilet is if she figures out that she’s tired of hot, fresh pee running down her legs, and decides to get her little butt over to the bathroom ASAP. (Thank goodness it’s summer – potty training accidents that happen outside are the very best kind.)

And so, this morning as I waited for the mess to occur, I was talking myself through this whole process, trying to focus on how much she’ll learn from these unpleasant experiences, and suddenly I realized how much I was embracing the concept of learning through pain. It’s the best way.

It’s not enjoyable, but pain and hardship teach us the greatest, richest, deepest lessons in life. Can I learn to anticipate the hard times because of the growth I know they will bring?

That’s a hard one! A load of poop in the panties of life is hard to deal with, but we must learn to make the best of things!

I Choose Happiness

A few months ago, I was going for a walk and having a good think, when I realized that I was stuck in a grumpy rut.

I think it’s possible to go through hard times, and get so in the habit of things being hard, that we keep thinking everything is hard, even when it isn’t anymore.

I think it’s possible for us to get so used to looking for the bad in a situation, that we keep on looking for it in every situation. And as Pollyanna’s father said, “If you look for the bad in people, you will surely find it.” I think that goes for situations, too, not just people….

So I walked along, thinking about how attitude is a choice, and I was in the rut of always choosing a grumpy attitude. There were times when I felt quite legitimate about being grumpy.

And there were lots of times when I wasn’t grumpy – it’s not like I was an awful person to be around. I was just very consistently able to find the negative in any situation.

And as I walked along, I realized that I was very tired of that. Maybe there were times when I was legitimately grumpy, but it’s still my life, and I would like to enjoy it a lot more than what I was.

I realize that “the joy of the Lord is my strength”. I knew all the verses about being content in every situation, and rejoicing in the Lord, but I felt like I needed something more.

Is it wrong to feel like I needed more than God’s Word?? Oh dear. But I did. I needed some practical tips. It is very practical to rejoice in the Lord always. But I needed more detail, some step-by-step instructions on how to be happy.

So I ordered Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project”. And it exactly hit the spot.

source

I loved this book. It fit my need for charts and lists and oodles of practical suggestions. Gretchen Rubin wanted more happiness in her life, so she figured out very specific ways of breaking bad habits, and growing positive new ones. She identified the problems, and then figured out how to fix them.

And she wrote over and over again about how happiness is a choice.

I definitely needed the kick in the pants to start making better choices. I needed to realize that the amount of joy in my life is controlled by….me. It doesn’t matter what problems I face, I still get to choose how I will respond to life.

Example: A couple of weeks ago, I was stuck at Superstore at 5:30pm on a Friday. If you ever want the truest, deepest weaknesses of your character to be exposed, go to Superstore at 5:30pm on a Friday.

It was pure madness. I was indescribably frustrated. The lines were longer than I would ever have guessed possible at Superstore, everyone there was grumpy, and the rotisserie chicken I was buying was dripping juice all over my pants.

I was trying to find my way through the crowd to the end of the line, when suddenly, who should appear at my side but my former youth pastor. For a second or two, I was actually tempted to sneak away before he saw me, because I was so grumpy that I did not feel like being social.

In that moment, I had a choice. And I realized that no Superstore line was worth being so grumpy that I couldn’t squeak out a friendly greeting. So I took a deep breath, cleared the impatient expression off my face, and greeted him with the most cheerful voice I could muster up. We battled our way to the back of the line together, and then proceeded to catch up on life for the next 20 minutes.

Those minutes went by in a flash. I’ve never enjoyed myself in a Superstore line as much as I did that day.

Moral of the Story: Sometimes we end up in crumby situations. That’s life. But I believe there is always some goodness to be found. I’m going to start looking for it a whole lot more diligently.

For Times When I Want To Be in Control…

I like to be in control of my life.

That’s kind of a problem, seeing as there are so many aspects to life that I am not in control of.

I’ve spent years dealing with the struggle between the desire to be in control, and the conviction to surrender everything in my life over to God.

From what I’ve seen, heard, and read, I know that I am not alone in this struggle. It’s one of the big struggles of the Christian life – surrendering to God, giving up control. I spend a lot of time feeling frustrated – I want to surrender control to God, but I have all this energy and emotion that won’t co-operate. What do I do with it all?

But I had an epiphany last night.

I’ve been reading The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin (which you will hear much more about yet, believe me, because that book is amazing), and she ended the book by observing that one of the biggest ways that her Happiness Project made her happy was by giving her control of her life.

But here’s the thing: She didn’t get control over what happened in her life so much as she got control over her reaction.

I’ve been seeing my desire to control as such a weakness – a bad desire that I must get rid of, in order to surrender my life to God.

But the Bible makes it clear that God wants us to be in control of certain things – of our reaction to things, of our thoughts, of the choices that we make.

Self-control is a Fruit of the Spirit. We are told to take every thought captive. We are told to “consider it pure joy” when we face hardships.

Control over the right things in our lives is actually a good thing.

It only becomes wrong when I try to control things that are not mine to control.

What if I have a desire to control because God gave it to me? What if each of us has a God-given longing for self-control, for the ability to choose grace under pressure, for the ability to rise to the occasion, and control the things that He desires for us to control?

What if every time I’m frustrated about my lack of control in a situation, I switch my focus to control my reaction, instead of the situation?

No, I won’t end up getting my own way, but at least I would have a new direction to point my energy and emotions. I would still be surrendering to God what He wants me to surrender, and would get to work on controlling the stuff that He’s actually given me responsibility for.

And now all of the calm people of the world, like Ben and my dad, are probably reading that and wondering why on earth it took me nearly 33 years to figure it out.

I can’t control when I get an epiphany. Since I am not one of the calm people of the world, some of these things take a little longer…

Monday is Picture Day

Today is Monday, and that means it’s time for a bunch of pictures…

To start off with, we have a picture of Kaylia in an apron, because aprons are her new obsession. Whenever I’m working in the kitchen, she will go get the aprons out, and insist that we both put one on.

The girls were coloring together the other day – Anika was drawing a butterfly for Kaylia, because she knows they’re Kaylia’s favorite. It’s a relevant picture to post because it really highlights Kaylia’s “street urchin” look that she’s got going on these days. Her hair is going through an interesting growing phase, and she looks exactly like the picture of the street urchin in Anika’s “A Little Princess” book. Except she’s a lot chubbier.

This is my “normal day” picture – Anika doing schoolwork, Kaylia playing with toys, and me folding laundry while I wait for Anika to finish her work. Actually, that’s a “good” normal day. On a “not-so-good” normal day, Anika is not very excited about doing schoolwork, Kaylia is trashing the house, and I am trying to find enough patience to make it until nap time. Always happy for days that look like this:

And here’s one from the other evening. It was family night, so we had just finished an intense game of hide and seek, and then we moved on to horsey rides.

When people ask what we’ve been up to lately, I don’t quite know how to sum it all up! We’ve been cooking and cleaning and homeschooling and playing and working and reading¬† and disobeying and apologizing and singing and dancing- lots of normal, little things that make me happy (except the disobeying part) because they’re just ordinary, everyday activities that make up our life right now.

We’re ready for another week of it!