Time

“Time flies when you are having fun.”

They should modify that to say “Time flies no matter what you are doing.”

My husband and I just celebrated our fourth anniversary. Four years ago, I thought we would be living an upper middle class lifestyle. Cal would be working as a professor of Political Science. I would be a stay at home mom. We would have all of our laundry in the basket, dinner on the table every night, and not a dirty dish to be seen.

Somehow, I have let the last four years slip past me.

Our son will be two this October. Unfortunately, my dreams of staying at home were not feasible.
I had to go back to work four weeks after Ethan was born in order to keep my job. Those four weeks at home were difficult for me. Ethan refused to latch on, so I had to exclusively pump. When you are pumping eight to twelve times a day for thirty minutes at a time, it feels like a full time job. I felt like I was spending most of my time hooked to a machine, while everyone else got to feed my precious baby. Looking back, I was probably suffering from mild postpartum depression.

Just before Ethan turned one, I took a job as a teacher. I went to work before he woke up in the morning. In order to lesson plan, I insisted that he nap for the first couple of hours after I got home from work. This gave me two or three short hours with him in the evening each night.

Right now, I am in the middle of what has been the best summer of my life. We moved to Nashville early in order to spend time getting plugged into the community before Cal starts law school this fall. I am home 24/7 with the two most important men in my life, Cal and Ethan. We have been to the zoo, the library, the park, a flea market, and a farmers market. We have read books, played games, sung songs, and danced around. We have smiled and laughed as a family more in the past month than we have in the last year. I have been stress free and happy. And, I don’t want it to end.

As I search for a teaching position this fall, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. I want so desperately to stay at home with Ethan. I want to be the one to watch him grow and develop. I don’t want a daily report card on his potty training progress. I don’t want to guess as to what he is doing all day long. I want to teach him about Christ and the Bible and the alphabet and numbers. I don’t want to outsource mommyhood to some stranger at a daycare.

I have struggled for the past few days over whether this feeling is a God given one or a selfish desire. The Bible instructs us to train our children and it also tells us not to worry about being provided for. But it seems foolish to not work and stay home when I am not sure we could make rent each month.

We have been working on the Dave Ramsey plan to get out of debt as quickly as possible after law school so that we may buy a house. However, I cannot help but think that my child’s spiritual, intellectual and emotional growth are more important than being able to own instead of rent. Perhaps giving up on my own worldly grasp of financial stability would aid my own spiritual, intellectual and emotional growth.

Regardless of whether I decide to stay at home or work, one lesson I would like to incorporate into my daily life is “Time flies no matter what you are doing.” I want to be very intentional about every second of my time because I can never get those seconds back.

Time Photo

Where Would We Be?

When my husband and I first got married and moved into our little apartment in Oxford, Mississippi, I would have done anything to get a job as a staff accountant. I prayed constantly for a well-paying job that would have supported us as he worked on his PhD. Needless to say, that job didn’t come easily but a job scooping poop for the local animal shelter did.

My mind wandered this morning to how much simpler our life would be if I had that $45,000 a year job I had prayed for. Maybe we wouldn’t have the piles of student loans and I would have my C.P.A. license and an M.B.A.

Many times over the past several years I have asked why God did not answer my prayers.

Most likely, we would not be any better off if my prayers had been answered. My husband would not have had any of the experiences that led him to pursue a law degree. I would have never realized my calling for teaching. Our son would have spent his first two years of life in daycare. And, we probably would still have piles of student loans because expenses have a way of keeping up with income.

James 4:3 says “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

God has a perfect plan for each of us and with time he reveals that plan. Sometimes even our best intentioned prayers are asked wrongly. We ask for healing for the sick, when it is their time to pass. We ask for well-paying jobs, when God wants us to learn to rely on Him. We ask for passing grades, when God desires we choose another course of study.

If I have learned anything through my unanswered prayers, it is this: Unanswered prayers are God’s means of revealing His plan for us. We need only listen.

Unanswered Prayers Photo

I have an addiction…

When my husband said I had a chore addiction, I laughed. There is no possible way that I have an addiction to something that I dislike. Then he asked me to go a day without work. At first I thought it would be easy. Five minutes later, I was experiencing tightness in my chest.

No work.  I couldn’t get caught up on laundry. What would we wear? I couldn’t do dishes. What would we eat on? I couldn’t cook. What would we eat? I couldn’t get around to cleaning the carpets, tidying up the pantry, going through my son’s clothes for the upcoming consignment sale, putting up our Christmas decorations, organizing the shed, or completing any of the projects that have been on my radar for months. I started to have trouble breathing as I realized that nothing would get done that day.

I then sat on my couch for thirty minutes petting the dog, staring at my sleeping son, and wondering what I could possibly do for the rest of the day. We just cancelled Netflix and Direct TV, so I couldn’t watch anything. If I started a book, I would not have time to finish it. I was not allowed to go grocery shopping. I didn’t have clothes shopping in the budget.

I loaded my son into the car and headed to work. The girls up at the store hadn’t seen him in a while and going to work didn’t constitute as work as long as I was off the clock. Of course, a customer had to waltz in the door while my coworkers were all busy. I had to make a decision: do I help the customer or make him wait. I got dizzy as excuses twirled through my head. He could be a secret shopper and if I don’t help him, we will get a bad score. He could be a new customer, and if I make him wait we won’t win him over. One of my coworkers stumbled back to the front of the store and greeted the man as I exited. Work was not a good idea.

I journeyed home and arrived just as my husband was coming home for lunch. I had made it three hours without doing anything. He finished eating and left a plate on the tray. I instinctively got up to put it in the sink, but fell back to the couch. I had to get out of the house.

We drove to a town an hour away to make some returns at a department store and spent the rest of the night watching DVD’s and playing with the baby. As we were getting into bed that night (early because I was tired of not doing work), my husband and I discussed my day.

Bottom line: we survived eating leftovers with dishes in the sink and clothes in the laundry room. I don’t have to rush around every day trying to get ahead on a million chores that will never get completed.

Addicted to Chores Photo

This weekend, we did get a lot of things done. I did countless loads of laundry and dishes, we went through the clothes the baby has outgrown, we put the Christmas decorations in the shed, and I cleaned out the fridge and the pantry. However, the most important thing we did this weekend was take time to relax and spend time together as a family.

“So don’t worry, saying ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~Matthew 6:31-34

New Year, New Me

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New Year’s Eve! It is always a night of regret and hope.

Every year on New Year’s Eve I reflect on the past year and I think about how I should have lost weight, should have studied the Bible more, and I should have cleaned my house a bit better.

By the end of my reflection, I am typically disheartened and angry with myself for not being a better person. I usually end up making a list of well meaning resolutions. The list always starts off with losing 50 pounds, reading the entire Bible, and keeping my whole house neat and tidy.

On January 1, I am usually completely motivated and excited about the New Year ahead. However, by February, I am usually the same weight and have not studied or cleaned as well as I have hoped. That is when I lose sight of those original goals and give up on myself.

This year, New Year’s was a bit different for me. I started to think about the past year and how I never would have guessed how wild and crazy it actually turned out.

With all of the unexpected events I have experienced this year, I would never be able to complete my New Year’s Resolutions that I issued myself on December 31, 2011. So I experienced something amazing this year. I reflected on all of my accomplishments of 2012.

I cleaned out the house to make room for a nursery, I had the confidence to apply for a new job that I love, I only gained 12 pounds throughout my pregnancy, I spent most of the year without my ADHD medicine, I read two entire books of the Bible, I completed a month long daily devotional, I finished a book series, I started organizing my recipes, and I finally gave myself permission to let go of the CPA exam.

None of these accomplishments are as lofty as my usual resolutions, but together they seem amazing.

My resolutions for 2013 are simple: Love God, love my family, and love myself. If I can work towards these three things, I will spend December 31, 2013, once again celebrating a wonderful year.