My friend, Missy, posted her book list this morning and wondered what others are reading and recommending. Thought I would whip up a post of my current reading list, my TO Read list and my Have read list. Beware, this may be LONG - I am a lover of books:)
Shantaram - by Gregory David Roberts - my current fiction book, given to me by a friend as a Christmas gift. The story is intriguing as it seems to mirror the author's real life. It is a very thick book and I'm only 4 or 5 chapters into it. The chapters are long, which hinders my reading - I usually only read this at night before I turn out the lights and since I'm training for a race I can hardly get through a page or two before rolling over. I like the book so far and I like the characters. I'm eager to get further into this book.
Love Beyond Reason - by John Ortberg - my current non-fiction book. I'm not far into this one either. I only read a section at a time and am only able to do so a couple of days a week. I WISH my children would sleep a little later in the morning! One thought that I took from this book today: part of loving God is attending to him (which begs the question - what does "attend to" mean?) Also, loving others means paying attention to them and being sincerely interested in them. Thinking about this, mulling it over, trying to figure out how to turn my thoughts/feelings into words and blog about it to perchance work through this a bit. Maybe tomorrow.
Recently Have Read:
Three Cups of Tea - by Gregory Mortenson - given to me by the same friend who gave me Shantaram. Took me a while to really get into this book, but probably a little less than halfway through it I WANTED to read it. Gave me a lot of insight into the middle eastern/arabic culture and the war that we are in in that area of the world. Definitely a thought-provoking book and well worth reading. At one point I thought that if I were in college and had no relationship responsibilities I would drop everything and find Gregory Mortenson and demand that he allow me to work with him. At some point action becomes important rather than considering possible action. He has a passion. He prioritized everything around that passion. He had tunnel vision. He changed (and continues to change) many, many lives. I want passion like that for something.
Abba's Child - by Brennan Manning - oh man did this book take my breath away. The chapter on the Imposter is worth the price of the book in itself. This book spoke loudly to a silent but restless portion of my soul and helped me realize that introverted, extroverted, shy, whatever - those things don't define me. I am beloved. My Imposter is the uncomfortable, somewhat bitchy looking, self-conscious outward facade that shines through in public when I don't know anyone. THAT is not who I am, but the Imposter who covers me and tries to define me. Wow, I can't even put it into good words. This is a must read for me probably every year or so. What an incredibly important book.
God is Closer Than You Think - by John Ortberg - This book gave me a definition of the Contemplative spiritual pathway that I felt like put ME into words. It also provided the idea of: How do we bring Up There down here? Those 4 words come back to me over and over and over. The idea is simple enough for me to reflect on it and remember it often and to ask it over and over and over. How do I bring Up There down here - for my girls? for my husband? for the people I see in the grocery store? for my friends? my family? for the people I pass in life? for my neighbors? Add this to the idea from his book that I listed above that: the main place you do the work of God is as you go along... seeing what Jesus would see and responding as he would - geez John Ortberg, you rock my world (quite literally).
Velvet Elvis - by Rob Bell - Rob Bell makes me wonder. A lot. He has a way of writing that compels me to read more and to think about what I've read. Do I agree or disagree with that statement/paragraph/idea/concept/chapter? I love his writing. I enjoy his books and thinking. He makes me wonder.
A New Kind of Christian - by Brian McLaren - apparently Brian McLaren is a pretty heavy hitter in the emergent church movement. I don't really even know what the emergent chruch movement is or what it is about, what I do know is that in my research of a different book written by a Hope College professor there was much criticism of Brian McLaren. If nothing else, this will be a thought provoking book as well.
For Parents Only - by Shaunti Feldhahn - I've read For Women's Eyes Only and enjoyed it. It was a quick read and was insightful about the thoughts and feelings of men - from a purely objective data collection point of view. I'm eager to receive this book and find out if it applies to a parent of young children.
I Was Just Wondering - by Philip Yancey
Disappointment With God - by Philip Yancey
Above All - by Brennan Manning
Going to Reread soon:
Becoming God's True Woman - by Nancy Leigh DeMoss - this is a book worth blogging about. Definitely one where I need to wade through some of it and take what I can from it as I don't agree with the perspective of some of the writers. However, there is a lot of good things in this book and I credit the book with revolutionizing my thinking and understanding of some of the topics covered in the book. Helped me come to a few important decisions in my life and helped me understand my purpose as a wife and a mother a little better. I hope to reread it soon and get some thoughts on here.
What are YOU reading?
With the exception of the two books that I received as gifts, I got all of the books listed via a website called www.paperbackswap.com. I've also gotten many more than I listed here. If you have books that you'd like to get rid of and would like to add to your personal library or begin a personal library I would HIGHLY suggest checking this website out. I got every one of these books for the mere cost of media mail shipping and have been able to rid my home of books that were never going to be read or reread and were taking up space. I'm a HUGE fan of paperbackswap.com! If you'd like to join, let me know - I'd be happy to send you an invite (I think I MIGHT get a credit toward a book if you join via my referral, but I'm not sure).
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
My friend, Missy, posted her book list this morning and wondered what others are reading and recommending. Thought I would whip up a post of my current reading list, my TO Read list and my Have read list. Beware, this may be LONG - I am a lover of books:)
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Last week Ms. Peek accused me of only ever telling her to do her homework. She's in second grade - there isn't much homework to be done. However, she has a math assignment everyday and piano to practice. She gets off the bus at 3:45, which doesn't end up being a whole lot of time when you have to fit a snack, dinner & sometimes a bath in there by 7:30pm. So yes, I am always telling her to do her homework after school.
This gem of an accusation really kind of irritated me. I don't like to be accused of anything for one thing. But she had just spent almost 3 hours playing next door because I wasn't home when she got off of the bus and my neighbor was kind enough to have Ms. Peek & Skipper over until Cornbread or I got home.
The comment set us both up for a much needed reminder. A reminder that we both needed.
A few months ago, a good friend of mine told me that her job as a mom is to equip her children to be good, well-functioning grown ups. Huh. I had never thought of it that way, but you can believe that I grabbed onto that and ran with it:) But I forget sometimes.
So after the homework conversation, I went to her room to have my own conversation with her. I reminded her - and myself - that my job is to equip her to become a good, well-functioning grown up. My job is to help her get to the point where she can function on her own.
My job is NOT to make her life easy and comfortable.
While I enjoy peace and I enjoy making my children happy, it is counterproductive for all parties involved if I make their lives easy.
To be clear, it is also NOT my job to make their lives miserable. I will make their lives as easy and comfortable as possible in the interest of having a happy, peaceful home. However, that is secondary. My primary responsibility to them is to help them become more and more responsible for their lives. And that doesn't mean solving all of their problems for them. It means allowing them to have problems and helping them solve them... and little by little allowing them to solve more problems on their own. Deal with the consequences of their bahavior. Take responsibility for their actions and for their lives.
Sometimes I forget that parenting is work. I forget that I need to be intentional about my parenting. Sometimes I get so caught up in the idea of making our house a home and having a happy and peaceful family existence that I forget that it is secondary to what my main parenting job is.
My girls will learn their math, reading, geography, writing, social studies, etc. in school. I have confidence that our school system has hired capable and wonderful teachers and my girls will learn the necessary school stuff at school. I am not responsible for teaching them those things.
I am responsible for teaching them how to navigate through life. What it means to love Jesus and to walk with him. I am responsible for showing them how to treat others. For teaching them compromise, yet assertiveness. I am responsible for affirming them and helping them learn who they are as young ladies and to be comfortable and happy with who they are. I am responsible for allowing them to be kids, for giving them time to play and create and imagine. I am responsible for teaching them how to make healthy choices in many areas of their lives. I am responsible for teaching them respect, manners, compassion, empathy and self-control.
There are many more things I'm responsible for teaching them - the previous list is not an exhaustive one. Many of these things I am still working on myself. Many of these things are daily battles for me. I believe that children learn through example - which doesn't excuse me from directly teaching them, however, it does compell me to work on being the kind of person I want them to be.
As with everything in my life - its all about balance. And I get out of balance a lot.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
I love to bake and make little treats like this, but I hate having them around the house. I have such a hard time resisting them:) So I LOVE to make treats for other people.
I sat next to a CPA at one of Cornbread's business dinners a few weeks ago and he told me he has two little kids. He and I enjoyed a nice conversation and I immediately thought of his kids when I decided to make these goodies (honestly though, I'm also not above trying to bribe people into giving my husband some business;)
I also love to put together treats like this that are super low cost, but super high impact. They are time consuming, but I enjoyed making them and putting the packages together (and sampling some). It gives Cornbread an opportunity to visit some accountants that he hopes to receive referrals from - I think they will have a good amount of impact.
These are rice crispie treats dipped in melted chocolate/peanut butter chips. I melted red and pink candy discs for the drizzle and sprinkled with glimmery red, white & silver sprinkles.
I made rice crispie treats like normal and cut them out with heart shaped cookie cutters. I also packed the rice crispie treats in there pretty hard in order to keep that sucker stick in - my treats turned out a little goo-ier than I like, which was creating a loose treat and not supporting the sucker stick. These are individual treats for the accountants (the suckers are for their children). These are scotcharoos. I.LOVE.SCOTCHAROOS. Holy cow are they good:)
With the scotcharoos I spooned some of the base layer into the cookie cutter (rather than cut them out of a block like the rice crispie treats). When it came to the chocolate layer, I tried frosting them with the melted chocolate/butterscotch like I would with cupcakes, but it didn't look good. I ended up dipping them, which worked well and gives them a hand-dipped look that I like. These are pre-icing, but post sprinkles.
I bought some great cardboard window boxes from the craft store and packaged them for the entire accounting office to enjoy.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I am continually amazed at how much a lack of alone time affects me. I shouldn't be amazed. I shouldn't be surprised - I've been learning this about myself for the last several years. But it has hit me like a brick wall in the last 24 hours. When I don't have time to myself and my life becomes hurried, distracted and busy my mental state suffers. I am no longer peaceful, I turn into the irritable, scolding mom that I don't like being. I also turn into a negative, ungrateful human being.
Ugh. I don't like this about me. I wish I could go, go, go and keep going and still be fine. Clearly, I cannot.
This week was busier than normal. Not super busy. Really, compared to most of the world's busy, mine was pretty tame and relaxed. So I don't want to complain about being busy. I actually don't mind being busy. I just need some down time and alone time to refresh myself and this week I didn't get it for 3 days straight and not looking good for another 3 days. And lets add that to the natural stir-craziness that the January - March stretch brings. Its a cocktail for a not so good situation in my world:)
So today my mission is to find some positive energy and right this wrong ship. Perhaps after my swollen-from-crying eyes release their puffiness, I'll be able to see a little more clearly. There is hope:)
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
I'm reading in Matthew for my New Testement reading. Jesus' sermon on the mount to be exact. And let me say that reading it in The Message makes such a difference to me. I feel like I'm reading the Bible for the first time.
Matthew 7: 7 - "Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn't a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we're in."
This verse stood out to me for a myriad of reasons:
* Don't bargain with God -
I've heard of people bargaining with God. "If you do this, then I'll do that" kind of thing. I've never understood it. Perhaps because I didn't grow up doing it and didn't really hear about people praying that way until I was older. So obviously, I read this verse and puffed my chest right away with pride because I've never done that.
And then I immediately confessed:) What a schmuck I am. Ugh - I can be such a jerk sometimes.
* Be direct -
I've learned this lesson over the last several years. Although I forget it quite often. The first time I learned it was in a sermon over 10 years ago. We were visiting Cornbread's church out here (we lived in GR at this time) and his pastor talked about direct prayers. He mentioned the flowery rhetoric that seems to flow when people are praying in public. That really spoke to us as the church that we attended in GR seemed to fall under that category (the pastor didn't pray that way, but the congregational prayer was led by laypeople). So the idea really stuck in my head - I'm better at retaining things when it hits me from multiple angles:)
I've also been trying to pray this way for the last couple of years based on the verse where Jesus tells us to Ask. Seek. Knock. Perhaps you don't have it because you haven't asked for it.
This verse in Matthew was another good reminder for me the other day. Although I have made a concerted effort to be direct in my prayers, I find that I veer off after a while... not with flowery rhetoric, but with cat-and-mouse stuff. Dancing around what I'm really asking for because I'm not quite sure its okay to ask for what I'm asking for. So reading this verse reminded me again - ASK. Be direct.
I think about my kids and the round-about ways that they ask for things sometimes. I'm usually standing at the counter, impatiently waiting for them to get to the point. Just ASK. What do you want? I also have been drilling into them the idea that if you state things into thin air, nothing happens. If you ask, you will get a response. Saying, "I'm thirsty" is really nice - and I have begun to respond with: "Thank you for letting me know." Saying, "May I have a drink of water, please?" elicits a completely different response from me.
I believe that God listens to our
statements complaints as we state them into thin air. I also believe that He might just roll his eyes at times and impatiently wait for us to JUST ASK (Cornbread actually seemed to have this experience yesterday).
So be direct in your prayers. Check - thank you for the reminder.
* Ask for what you need -
Whoa. This is where my main lesson was in this verse. At first I read through the verse and thought, "That's right - I need to ask for what we want". Wait, wait, wait. Back the truck up for a second... Ask for what you need.
Hmmm. Okay, so I'll go back and figure out what I need and ask for that.
Food. Uh, nope, we have plenty.
Water. Yes - ours is ridiculously expensive, but we have fresh, clean water any time we want.
Shelter. I may not LOVE our house and I may think that it needs to be condemned, BUT we have shelter. And heat. And electricity.
Clothing. Probably too much. And lucky enough for me, I have warm clothes to wear when its cold and cooler clothes to wear when its warm. I also have lots and lots of clothes to choose from everyday. And they're clean. And not ripped or holey.
Health. Yes. We are all in very good health. Moreso than many families who have struggled with ongoing, passing-through-everyone illnesses. No disease. No terminal illnesses. No chronic problems. We run. We have legs that move well. We have hearts that beat consistently and lungs that welcome fresh air. My biggest health concern is acne and I'm learning to let it go.
Money. Yes, that's right - THIS is what we need. I've been praying for this for 5 years as we've dipped into our supplemental... oh. Huh. We have money - its just not the exact source that we desire. And there IS more left to tap into, even though it is much, much less than it used to be and getting to a scary-for-us low. As of today our bank accounts are not empty.
So, Hey - what do we need?
I posed this question to Cornbread after I told him about the verse and my thoughts. Well... it appears that for TODAY - wait, didn't I just read something about not getting worked up over what may or may not happen in the future? Yes, that's right - apparently I don't learn the wisdom that Jesus is trying to impart to me. Okay, so back to Today. TODAY. We won't run out of food, water, shelter, clothes and money TODAY. We won't. Not even tomorrow if I allow myself to think past today. Today we are okay.
What we need today is peace and reassurance. We need to feel that everything is going to be okay. That we're being taken care of. That we have been provided for - in the past and today and if we believe God's promises, we can believe he will provide for us in the future. But today we need Peace. Patience. Kindness. Gentleness. Self-control.
Beyond that, I think we're covered for today.
Monday, February 08, 2010
I've been thinking about this blog o' mine for a couple of weeks. Thinking about whether or not I wanted to continue with it. Not that I don't like it - I do - but wondering for myself if its worth continuing since I seem to be so sporadic with posting and I'm not entirely sure there is an audience to write to. Ultimately, audience or not, I want to continue - it is good for my soul (when I actually write;)
I began to think that perhaps I should be a little more, ahem, intentional about this here blog. While I started blogging to journal my children for family members who live far away (which is basically all of them) and share pictures and stories with those who cannot be around very often, it eventually turned into something different. I also found that those family members weren't paying any attention to it... so what was I doing?
I began to find it as an avenue to clear my head and get the thoughts out that were swirling around up there driving me batty. I'm a thinker. Actually, I've come to understand that I'm a contemplative person... which is an actual type of person. Apparently, contemplative people do a lot of, well, contemplating. And I do that. And if I don't get it out of my head, I feel like I'm going mad. This blog has been a way to relieve some of that for me.
But I wonder sometimes... is anyone reading it? Do I care? I'm extremely self-conscious about what I write... do the people who read it think I'm totally out there? Again, do I care?
I'm learning to not care about those answers. At some point, I need to be comfortable with myself and not worry about what other people think.
However, it IS easier to write to an audience. It just is. I have a blog that noone is invited to read. And it isn't the same. Not sure why. Somehow writing TO someone makes a difference. So I would like readers. And comments really 1) validate the fact that I'm not a loony and 2) let me know that there is an actual audience to write to. (So please comment freely.)
Last week I began to think about how I could increase traffic/number of readers. I think about this once a year. Ultimately I conclude that the only reason I want to increase readership is to validate my insecurities. So while I would love to write to a bigger audience, I am not willing to do the things that would increase the size of the audience. I'm all about being authentic and real in my life - and artificially increasing readership - just so I can validate my insecurities - would be inconsistent with who I try to be.
BUT could I make this place better? Yes.
I have tinkered around with the layout and template over the last couple of years. I find something here or there that I'm okay with, but it never seems consistent with what the blog is about. I have decided to become a tad bit more intentional about this blog and wanted the look to match. I spent a good deal of time yesterday morning finding a new look. And I like it. I think it works with who I'm trying to be.
I came across the Socrates quote in my reading a couple of weeks ago and I love it. I think about it a lot. "An unaware life is not worth living." This speaks volumes to me... I work hard to live thoughtfully and intentionally rather than reactionary and thoughtlessly. To be consistent in who I am... I think Socrates summed it up very well for me and complements my blog's title very well.
I love the picture, too. I knew that if I tooled around on a million sites that offered free blog templates I would eventually find one that just fit. I didn't have anything in mind, I knew that I would know when I saw it - and I did. How often are we actually aware of the tiny bugs on the blades of grass that we're walking on. Yet they exist. They live. They're part of our world. We would know that if we took the time to be aware of our world.
The link bar at the top lists the areas of my life in which I strive to find balance. Its an ongoing journey and sometimes one of those areas is thriving and the rest are suffering. (The "physical" tab links to my workout blog - which I will begin to update again on a daily basis.)
Take a look around. Offer your thoughts. What is good? What needs work? What should be changed?
Thank you for reading and giving me an audience and a way to find peace:)
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Matthew 6:34 - Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
I was thankful for this reminder yesterday! We've had a crazy 5 years, financially. Building a book of business has been a slow-going process for Dave and the added market crash right when we were starting to see the light - incomewise - made it crazier. We spent almost 5 whole years covering our household expenses with our retirement funds and the equity in our home. I'm grateful that they were there to begin with - I have an amazing story of God's provision in that regard - but it gets discouraging after a while.
Last September business got better. And better. To the point of 3 whole months of his once-a-month paycheck covering ALL of our expenses that month and having a tiny amount leftover. WHAT? That happened exactly twice in the previous 50 months. To have it happen 3 months in a row was a reprieve that was desperately needed.
But then I began to expect it. This is how life is going to be from now on, right? No more worries about covering expenses, now things need to increase to the point of having a little disposable cash so we can start living normally.
December 2010... Not so good. Not as bad as a majority of the preceding 5 years, but we had to dip into the IRAs again. Deflation. Defeat. It ISN'T going to be that way from now on... And if this continues what are we going to do? We've gone through all of our equity and don't have a whole lot left in the retirement account. Where are we going to come up with supplemental money after that is gone? We have nowhere to cut from our monthly budget - we have gone as bare bones as humanly possible. Fortunately we don't have credit card debt, but that is the direction we're headed, right? Because I knew it was too good to be true. We're going to keep heading in this plateau direction of taking even small amounts out of the IRAs until they're all gone, too. Maybe we should not be doing the whole Dave Ramsey debt snowball thing. Maybe we should consider ourselves fortunate that we've found ways to pay off two debts in the last two months (Christmas money & HSA money) and absorb those monthly payments into our budget rather than apply them to student loans. Many thoughts going around.
... don't get worked up about what may or may NOT happen in the future. God will equip us to handle whatever happens when it happens.
And truthfully, he has. He hasn't let us down. He hasn't abandoned us. He hasn't stopped providing. TODAY we have enough and that's what matters. I need to stop getting worked up about June 2010 and start paying attention to where God is working TODAY, because we have enough today... why is June 2010 occupying my thoughts? I can't do anything about it right now. I can only do something today. And the more I think about tomorrow - or June 2010 - the less I'm paying attention to what God is doing around me now.
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
I've been reading my way through the Psalms in my old testament time. Since reading this book last summer, I've been able to read the psalms with a new perspective - as prayers. That perspective may have seemed obvious to many, many people, but it wasn't to me. I've always had a difficult time reading psalms... some of them have such a cadence in my head from memorizing them multiple times as a kid (Psalm 1, 8, 23) that I can't get past that sing-songy voice in my head while I read them; the fact that they are written to look like a poem also contributes to a sing-songy voice as I read them - I'm not so good with poetry, either; and the language just has never spoken to me.
Reading the Psalms out of the Message translation certainly has helped - along with my newfound psalms-are-actually-prayers perspective. I am grateful, because there is so much good stuff in there!
As a kid in christian school, it was well-known that Psalm 119 was the looooooongest psalm in the Bible. And reading it was rarely attempted, if ever. Perhaps if a sermon was particularly boring I may have cracked open Psalm 119 to pass the time while the preacher droned on. And I would do so only after I had counted ceiling tiles, watched the fan go around dozens of times, figured out how old I would be in the year 2000 (24!!!!) and any other kid in big church activity.
Wow - I have been missing out. I've been reading through Psalm 119 for probably 2 weeks and I can't get more than a few verses read at a time. There is so much to learn and meditate on in this psalm. It is quickly becoming my favorite. So I may do a few thoughts here about verses in Psalm 119 that I want to especially meditate on - I don't retain much unless I write about it:)
Psalm 119: 80 - Let me live whole and holy, soul and body, so I can always walk with my head held high.
So what? So what for me?
* it is important to be whole - soul and body. This means, for me, that it is vital for me to care for myself in all ways - physically through exercise and nutrition; mentally through reading, thinking, discussing, conversing; psychologically through down time, an unhurried life, and personal interests/projects. It is important for me to not lose my Jana-ness in the midst of life as a mom and wife - my identity does not fully exist in being Nora, Ryann and Georgia's mom or Dave's wife. It doesn't. I'm more than those things. I enjoy being mom and wife, but I'm also Jana. And I'm continually learning that taking care of me is as important as taking care of them.
* it is important to be holy. I feel comfortable with figuring out how to go about being whole, but being holy? How do I be holy? How do I become holy? I have few ideas here... I think that by reading and meditating on God's word I will get closer and closer, but I'm not sure I will ever fully achieve holiness - is it possible? Verse 9 says, How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word. So I am continually working on this.
* I can walk with my head held high. I'm learning this more and more, too. I'm reluctant to blog about my actual feelings sometimes because I'm not sure what others are going to think of me. I'm learning that I don't care. I am who I am (and I am not God) and I can hold my head up high. I've done a great amount of walking with my head lowered and its horrible. Some days - like yesterday when my face totally broke out for no apparent reason - it is hard to walk with my head held high, but I need to and I can.
Back to that verse from Matthew that I quoted last week - with less of me there is more of God. I can love more completely when I am whole - soul and body - because I'm not distracted with the things that are making me feel icky. I can love more completely when I am holy - verse 41: Let your love, God, shape my life - learning more about God brings me closer to him and his love. I can love more completely when I am walking with my head held high - because I'm not as self-absorbed with how uncomfortable I am or how I don't measure up... with less of me there is more of God.
Monday, February 01, 2010
For a while now, I've been contemplating life after three little girls are in school full time. I'm finally at a point where it is within grasp... just barely beyond the horizon. I can taste it sometimes:) I have a bit of freedom every afternoon and I love it. Thats not to say that there aren't days where I complain to myself that the freedom is not nearly long enough to accomplish all that I need to accomplish, but it is freedom nonetheless. And much cherished - I rarely let anyone in to my afternoons. Call me selfish, but its been 8 years since I've had regular periods of alonetime... even after Georgia started preschool last fall, many of my afternoons included my neighbor's son whom I babysat. Babysitting is over and now EVERY SINGLE day, I have 2 1/2 hours to myself. I do chores. I run errands. I eat lunch. I rarely answer the phone. I love it.
And my family benefits from all of this. I am a much calmer, peaceful, tolerant mother and wife. I have time to sit with my thoughts instead of having them swirl around up there driving me mad.
Two and a half years from now I will have every day - all day - to myself.
For almost 8 years I have intended to enroll in nursing school the second my youngest darling daughter steps on that bus to all day first grade. I've had periods of yearning for that future career. Times when something inside of me stirs and becomes a bit restless because I know that I will be a good nurse. I know I will. And I can't wait to do it. Something in my soul longs for that.
Over the last year and a half my position has changed. I've had time to think about things. I've watched my neighbor go through nursing school with little kids at home and witnessed the chaos that entails for the entire family (some people do well and thrive in chaos. Jana does not). I've taken some time to recall how life was when Dave and I were both working and had separate lives outside of our house... we had other responsibilities drawing our attention elsewhere and other people affecting our lives (and sometimes causing quite a bit of stress). I've had the opportunity to really witness and examine how my undivided, 100% attention and support of my family affects our homelife, Dave's career, our marriage, my relationship with my girls.
I've also learned to take pride in the stuff that I do around the house. To take joy in providing a home for our family rather than just picking up the house and seeing everything as a chore to cross off of my list. I have learned - sometimes begrudgingly - that not working outside of my home is a luxury and one that I am not resentful of, but rather have learned to be grateful for.
I've been on one. It has been slow, sometimes infuriating. I've been impatient - at times wishing my children were all 5 years older because "life will be so much easier" then. I've craved moving on from all of this... becoming who I'm supposed to be - a really good nurse who takes care of people who need me. Hmm. Even writing that seems laughable right now - who could need me more than my husband and children and myself?
I am good at what I do, even though I never have to start an iv or give someone a catheter (I hope;) And being wholely and fully present in my life and being intentional about how I live creates a home for our family. Like it or not, I am fully responsible for making our house a home. Dave contributes when he is able, but I'm in the drivers seat on this. Me. It is me. I affect our family life probably more than any other person in the house. It is my duty - my honor - then, to take care of myself and do what I can to create a peaceful, supportive environment for all who live here. I may never have a degree that calls me a nurse, but already I have achieved so much more in my life than I ever dreamed.
I am blessed.