Peace Place

I find that I often need a moment (okay, a few moments all strung together) to re-focus myself during each day.

The everyday gifts of raising small children; maintaining a home; shuttling people to and fro; staying in contact with my friends, my commitments, my STUFF, etc. paired with the massive amount of crazy chaos I have going on in my mind at any given time make these peace-filled moments more than a luxury - for me, they are necessary. I am an emotional intense person - I tend to feel things with my entire being and it can be hard to shut those reactions down without experiencing them. If I go too long without having time to process and refocus, I get short, critical, cranky, and downright angry. It's not good for anyone, but especially my children. I have been the bearer of much guilt over the outbursts that have erupted from the volcano of my mouth when I am feeling worn-out and over stretched far too may times.
As much I need the peace moment for ME, I also need it for THEM. One of the greatest gifts I can impart to my little people, is being in control of myself and not letting MY feelings affect the way I treat those around me. I need to model for them how paying attention to your own emotions helps you pay into those around you. I want to teach my children empathy and compassion towards others, but just as important, is to teach them to show it towards themselves.
Accepting my personality has brought with it the stark realization that I NEED CERTAIN THINGS that NO OTHER HUMAN can provide for me. I need Jesus to put that peace in my life, to grant me rest throughout the day, to hand my emotions over to. Peaceful moments to myself make this possible. They are essential to maintaining the life I want to have and I want my children to experience. In order for me to fill their tanks with what they need, I need to also fill my own.

The issue often stems from how, as a stay at home (and currently homeschooling) mom, does one find these moments? For me, the most important one is often the hardest. I am a sleep junkie, and I must deny this human desire to get in the frame of mind I most need. A classic example of "denying the flesh." I find my days are smoothest when I start my morning in sync with my Lord. I receive a devotion in my email from Proverbs 31 Ministries and I have to push myself when I wake, to sit up, rub the sleep from my eyes and meet with God through this devotion first........ Before I get up, before I check the other emails, before I do anything else. It is necessary and it sets the tone for my day. I know it's right because it's hard. If it was fluff, why would the Evil One waste his time messing with it? No, God sets the tone for my day. My days where this time is missed are rough, chaotic, and grumpy. I find myself mid-morning asking, "What is different about today?!" and it's that God's time was missed. Nothing can take it's place, of the effect isn't the same.
The others I may need as the day progresses are often stolen. I sneak a chapter or a few pages of a good book in whilst taking a break from doing laundry. I check emails while doing baths or making lunch. I sit at the computer while my kids are finishing schoolwork and read Facebook, blogs, or, heaven forbid, lose a half hour on Pinterest. These things bring my emotional intensity down to a calm place, so I can get on with the day. I also am trying fervently to end my day in prayer, writing down my petitions and praises, and being mindful about bringing my people before God each day. This time brings me back full circle and pushes those wordly voices out.

I hope my honesty with my kids on "Momma needs a quiet minute" teaches them something. That their Momma is not a superhero. She has struggles and stresses that can try to steal the joy from her day. But, she is also a child of God, just as they are, and in order to make every day flow, she needs to hand Him her stuff ALL. DAY. LONG. Even if that means she needs a minute to herself. Someday, they too, may feel overwhelmed and crushed by stress. Then, I hope my need for a moment here and there, and my honesty about taking them, enables them to take a quiet moment too. .


Here. Finally.

I had a new friend over today. I don't know about anyone else, but I feel like, as an adult, that making new friends is harder now than it was when I was a kid.

Maybe it is the result of having attending small, private schools from Kindergarten through a few years of college. There, you are in a setting with the same people year after year. A few additions and subtractions, yes, but for the most part, your core group is allowed to stay the same. I was incredibly blessed to have been surrounded by people that let me grow and blossom into my own person, with miniscule if any repercussions for how weird and wacky that person was becoming.
Even through the battlefield of middle and high school, I can't even recall a time when I was made to feel worthless or not cool enough for something.
I know without a doubt this is not because it didn't happen. No, I'm pretty sure it did. That's just how it goes.
BUT, I don't remember it.
Why? Because my group of friends, my "people" were so incredible and so comforting, that it didn't get a chance to take root in my memory. How blessed am I to be able to say that!

However, as an adult, a negative effect of my people has finally been revealed: I struggle to make friends. I spent so long in "the bubble," that once released, no, thrust out from it into reality, my skills in meaningful conversation, bonding, relationship creation are fairly stunted. Plus, having had such a ridiculously awesome posse (in high school, we called ourselves "The Junkyard Gang." Still wish we would have gotten t-shirts at some point!) has made for a world of difficulty filling those shoes. My standards for friends (not even "besties!" Just regular old pals) is high.

Which brings me to today.

I had a new friend over. We met at church, as I teach one of her boys in Sunday School, and another is in my older son's class. She brought her three boys, and they, along with my three Rascals all played outside, ate, played inside. 4 hours.

This morning, I was terrified.

She asked if she could help with getting lunch together, and I said yes. None of that, "oh, I can handle it all" She-Ra mentality here today. I set that desire to impress aside and said yes to her offer of help.
I said yes when she offered to stay here with two of my littles so I could run one child over to the elementary school to his IEP meeting.
I wasn't jealous as she nursed her little baby, neither of the baby I so desperately want another of nor of her ability to nurse, something I have never been able to do successfully.
I didn't get offended or feel threatened when she and my husband struck up a conversation of their mutual interest in exercising, something I have really tried to like many times, but have yet to catch the bug.
I didn't cringe as we talked about homeschooling, even though I have really struggled this year with it and am almost positive I won't do it next year.
I didn't censor myself.
I didn't feign knowledge of something I have no clue about just to be in the loop.
I didn't dress to impress or cover up my parenting holes, my insecurities, my "I haven't gotten to that" yets.
I wasn't jealous of her beauty, her personality, her confidence, her things or herself. (And two months or heck, two weeks ago, I'm not sure I couldn't have been)

I was just me.

I have finally (FINALLY) realized that I need to be this person, this being, this soul that I have been created as.
I must own my personality, my limitations, my successes, my triumphs.
I have made mistakes, I have done things wrong, I have experienced loss, heartache, depression, crippling anxiety, failures, bad grades, wishy-washy-ness, terrible boyfriends, credit card debts, rampant overspending, breastfeeding envy, anger towards my children, anger towards my lack of follow thru in school or career, anger over missed opportunities and lost chances, low self-esteem, poor eating habits, jealousy, lack of faith, impatience............ the list could continue.

But, I am also compassionate, strong-willed, honest, perseverant, kind, quirky, empathetic, a great listener, prayerful, faithful, determined, loving, creative, positive, intelligent, and loyal.

I realize I am worth knowing, worth talking to, worth getting to know.
Not me in 6 months, 2 years, or after another baby.
Not me ten years ago or even 2 years ago.

Me. Right now. Today. This minute.

I need to speak up with MY thoughts from MY mind and MY heart. I need to talk about MY interests, My dreams, My failures, MY goals.

And I need to let people in to do that.



today, i made all three Rascals take naps (2, 4.5, and 6) so i could get some work done.

and by work, i meant standing in the hottest shower stream i could manage, while consuming half a bag of Twix Bites.

oh, you know you understand.