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Tending Change

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Tending Change

It’s spring. This spring, however, is different from springs of the past. It is a new and different spring. 

I don’t know about you, but I love the change of season. I think I love the anticipation and expectations. I remember the beauty of the prior year and expect it all over again.  In spring, I look for the dogwood to put on its whimsical white blossoms. Summer brings fireflies and long days. Autumn...oh how it leaves me breathless! (my husband would be so impressed with the pun!) The leaves alone are worth reveling in, but add Thanksgiving to it and I just can’t even explain how much I adore autumn! Winter is usually a beautiful season of warm food, lots of family time, good books and great blankets. I expect to snuggle in and enjoy the season of hibernation.

But today, as I was reading through my PowerSheets, I read something I had written in December: 

New seasons can be just as beautiful, or more beautiful, than the ones that have passed.

Today, this truth seeded itself into my heart. So I will tend it this spring.

Usually, I look forward to all the consistency and sameness each season. But some years, the season is full of unexpected differences. My son graduated high school one spring. That spring was very different. It will never be repeated, and it was beautiful. The hot summer months with both children swelling my belly was different...but oh so beautiful. It was filled with joy and it was a hard, toiling time. Being ready to give birth in July and August in Texas is hard by itself, but a few minor health complications added to the toil of childbirth! Nonetheless, it was two of the most beautiful summers I have in my memory! 

I tend to struggle with change. I usually despise and resist it. Change tends to leave me ruffled and sometimes sad to boot. Ruffled because I like routine, consistency, and knowing what to expect. Sad because I catch myself longing for the beauty I once knew and have come to expect. 

I remember vividly when my kiddos were 16 and 12 and I struggled with the change of relationships and all the growing up that was happening. The difficulty was that I was resisting the change…the independent spirits, no legos, less tree climbing. Instead of enjoying this new season, I lamented…out loud, nonetheless…about how I immensely missed 7 and 3! I missed the pigtails and snuggle-toothed smile, and the freckles; oh how I missed the freckles that were fading fast. But in doing that I was missing the beauty before me, not to mention making my children feel that 16 and 12 was not as exciting or fulfilling to me as the past! I am so thankful to God for bringing this  attitude to my attention so I didn’t miss the whole transition. How sad it would have truly been if I had wished that year away!

Today when I reread what I had jotted down, it made me think about how I’m living right now. Am I seeing the beauty in this season, even in the hard things, the unexpected things? Am I missing today because I’m looking back at and longing for yesterday?  Am I ruffled about the changes ahead, or am I facing them knowing God is on my side and in Him, all thing work to my good and are beautiful?

I'm pondering these questions in my heart and laying them at the feet of Jesus. I want to be present and expecting now. I want to drink in the beauty of this season. How are you doing this spring? Is it as expected and you’re able to love the beauty in the flowerbeds and your life, or is change disheartening you and making you wish this season away? 

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Training Appetites

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Training Appetites

How many times have you wished you would have chosen better?  I know in our family, there are many opportunities to choose the easier, more fun, tastier...grass is greener option. But when we actually take the time to weigh our options and pick the best of the good...the results are ALWAYS positive. Join me over at The Laundry Moms as I share about training appetites in Brussel Sprouts or Chocolate.

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To Every Thing, Turn, Turn, Turn...

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To Every Thing, Turn, Turn, Turn...

The season is changing again! I woke Saturday to golds and oranges...it was a though Autumn had arrived while I was sleeping. Oh how I love Autumn. But do I miss the joys of Summer when longing for the cooler weather? Do you?  How about when we "miss it" with our kids...wishing they were older or younger...etc. Join me over at The Laundry Moms as I share about Finding Joy in the Change.

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When Does School Start Again?

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When Does School Start Again?

The countdown begins at Spring Break. The last paper chain is broken and cheers can be heard from every classroom. Graduation pictures, of all kinds, flood FB news feeds and teachers are on the edge of their chairs just waiting for the final bell to signal that Summer has finally begun! There is such excitement in the air.

Summer, in its infancy, holds such wonder. When I was young, it meant late nights playing hide and seek after dark. Catching fireflies, and of course, the daily evening visit from Bob, our snow cone man. I still miss Bob!

It was trips to the water park and sleeping in a little later. It was family time and cook outs, trips to the lake and summer camps…it was relational when I was a kid. Although the excitement of the new school year and all it held began to creep into our minds in August, I never really wanted to go back to school and miss out on all the time with my friends and loved ones that summer afforded me.

Today, it seems like a different story. I read it in my news feed beginning in mid-June. “Is it time for school to start yet?!” “Oh my goodness! What am I going to do with my kids for 6 more weeks?” And the closer the school year draws, the more frequent the lamenting. Why is this?

During the school year we get up at the same time, eat, get ready for school/work, and off we go. We come home, participate in extras, eat dinner, do homework and go to bed. Then…we do it all again. Second verse, same as the first. The beauty in the school year is routine, predictability, consistency. It’s what keeps the ball rolling. Then along comes summer. The glorious time of no bedtimes, few practices and no schedule… and in a few weeks…cranky moms and dads just ready to get back to normal.

My encouragement to you is to intentionally relish the hot summer months. Be intentional to cherish the cook outs, the pool parties and the late nights…but make sure you still have summer joy to post in late July instead of the familiar “WHEN does school start?”…create a summer time routine. Make a summer routine. After all, life is still moving forward and this is a great time to give your children training in life management. I’m sure the kitchen is a revolving door, the yards need to be mowed, and laundry still gets dirty. It takes effort on our part, as parents, but I have learned a little secret.

Children, of all ages, THRIVE with routine, boundaries and most of all…consistency.

If you want a more enjoyable summer, one that doesn’t have you wondering “How much longer do we have to do this Summer thing???” then you will have to change things up a bit. My husband says, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always gotten.” Now that’s GOOD…right?

And now, for my hints for a more enjoyable summer. I know you can’t wait!

  1. Get up. I know, I know…summer is supposed to be about sleeping late. Of course it is…but late is 9 or 10…not noon or later. Remember when the alarm went off at 5 am?
  2. Go to bed I know it is actually light outside until at least 9pm and WHO can go to bed when there is light out? I’m not saying keep the normal bed times, but save the 3 am bed times and the all-nighters for special times during the summer. They don’t need to be the norm.
  3. Get outside. If you’re like me and you live in Texas or somewhere else where the temperatures soar into the 100s…being outside doesn’t always sound appealing (except to my High School English teacher who absolutely thrives in the hot, hot summer!) But it is worth enduring the heat a bit. Being outside sparks creativity and wonder. It allows for the energy built up inside of us to have an outlet of escape. Yard work, pool time, s’mores and cook outs cultivate conversations and relationships. And there no substitute for a day in the sun to make for a good night’s rest!
  4. Chores. “But wait! we’re on VACATION!” Right…only you quickly realize that everyone else is on vacation and your work seems to have doubled. Am I right? During the year, if your kids have responsibilities around the house…keep ‘em coming! If they don’t, summer is a great time for Life Training 101. Start with their rooms or something small, but start. Life hasn’t taken vacation. I’m sure you still have dishes and laundry. My mom was a genius at summertime routine and chores. When we asked if we could go to the water park, play outside, run to a friends house or the mall…the answer was always “Yes…as soon as you_____(fill in the blank) is finished.” It took the sting out of house work, because we were going to get to do what we wanted, and it saved her from wanting to pull out her hair because the house was relatively picked up and in order. It was a win-win…Smart Mom!
  5. Limit the electronics…”and that’s all I have to say about that?” Forerst Gump

Don’t let summer become a drudgery. Don’t let a lack of routine leave you screaming “I can’t wait for school to start! These kids are driving me crazy! When will we get back to normal around here?”

Reclaim your summer!

Be intentional to create routine and balance. Ask the Lord to give you creative routine ideas that you can implement. He will you know! He loves us and is even concerned with our daily routines. Remember, summer is a great time for families to reconnect as school and extracurricular obligations are no longer the bulk of our calendar.

I pray that we will all look back on this Summer vacation with longing. As the school year begins again, our FB posts will read, “Where did the time go? I’m just not ready for them to all go back.”

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This post originally posted as a contributor post on I Take Joy.com

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