14,600 days

14,600 days….

Wow!  If 40 years didn’t sound like much……..that number has some weight to it!  Thinking of how I’ve spent some of those days gives me reason to pause.

At work last week someone said something negative about getting older.  All that I could say was, “It beats the alternative.”  And it’s true.  There are so many women who never reach 40.  I am so blessed to have lived those 14,600 days.  I’m so thankful to be at this point in my life and to know myself SO well.  Within a few minutes of entering a “less than nice” mood, I can usually whisper a prayer and turn myself around. Thankfully, I have a few friends who are also comfortable enough to tell me to get over it!  I found this quote that I thought summed up this whole age thing pretty well.  “At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At 40, we don’t care what they think of us. At 60, we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all.”  – Ann Landers

I think I might be a little ahead because I’ve already realized that people think of me and what I say/don’t say or do/don’t do WAAAYYY less than I do.  I’ve been guilty of going over and over conversations in my head and overanalyzing how they might have been received.  Nine times out of ten, the person I was talking with had moved on about 30 second later.

Looking back, honestly not many specific days stand out.  I remember high school graduation (my 18th birthday) and the anxiety of my future.  That day was so sad and so exciting all at the same time.  How exciting to have your entire adult life ahead of you!   I remember vaguely the joy of holding each baby for the first time, immeasurable joy all swirled together with medications, unexplainable fatigue and a hint of betadine hovering in the air.  I remember the day that I drove to Jackson to meet Henry for the first time.  The five hours that I sat with him and talked flew by like a few seconds.   So that’s six…..hmmmmm.

What did I do with the other 14,594?  I can’t say that I fully lived many of them, as I know all too well that I wasted many of those days on things that didn’t matter at all.  Some were filled with worry and self doubt.  Some were overshadowed by stress, often brought on by my own stupidity.  Some were spent in the valley of self pity or self comparison.  I’m so thankful to say that most recently they are more often than not filled with self confidence and peace.  I am happy with who I am.  That is NOT the same as me saying that I don’t want to be better, because I do.  I have so much improving to do in so many areas and fall short of who I’d like to be most days.  What I do have is a pretty clear vision of who I want to be (when I grow up….ha ha!)  I pray every day that somehow I will be able to make that day count in someone’s life.  I certainly hope I’m investing of my time and my talents in ways that help those around me.  I don’t feel the need to impress people with “who” I am anymore. I believe I have worth and I know it is only because I have a savior who died for me to make it so.  I am confident that my husband loves me and me only. What a blessing! I know that my children know that my intentions are good and that my heart’s desires for them are pure.

So what have I learned?   I have learned that life is a gift.  EVERY.SINGLE.DAY of it!  I’ve learned that parenting was way harder than I could have dreamed possible.  I’ve also learned that its rewards have no end.  I’ve learned that marriage is hard work on a good day but it’s so worth it!  I’ve learned that when I’m doing something I love, I have a limitless supply of energy.  I need to take more time to chase those things that energize me.  That’s a goal for my next 40 years.

I’m so blessed.  So so very blessed.

Choose Joy

photo (1)I intentionally began today with these words in mind.  I had a chance to watch Joyce Meyer, one of my favorites, during last week’s break from school.  One of the statements that she made really made an impact on me. It wasn’t a new concept but it was said just when I needed to hear it.  She said, “If there are things that feel mundane and you have to do them anyway, do them joyfully.”  I haven’t quite made up my mind how that looks when I am doing the dishes or cleaning the toilets, but I’m determined to find out!  I could certainly use a “joy adjustment” when I am doing things that I don’t necessarily choose to do.  I have spent the last two hours laughing with my girls and listening to one of my sons playing guitar.  As I was putting the girls into the bath, my four year old said, “There’s something different about this day.  We’ve been singing and laughing and taking pictures.”  My heart smiled…….Good. That’s a start.

Decisions, Decisions…..

You know those decisions that you have to make over and over?  Those decisions that you think you have settled and then the wind blows and fear sets in and you change your mind?  Those decisions that you have somehow managed to convince yourself could alter the path of the planets?  Those decisions that cause you to get out the pen and paper and make the pros/cons list?  Those decisions that a negative word from a friend can send you in a totally different direction? Yes, maybe you know the ones.

I have been wrestling with some decisions like that.  At least , in my mind I have given them that weight. If I believed that God got tired of us asking the same things over and over (which I don’t by the way), then he would surely be done with listening to me!

Here’s the dilemma.  I am a teacher and I love teaching. Since second grade, I have known that this was my calling.  I also love science.  The subject fascinates and energizes me.  I love being a mama.  To say that I am energized by it wouldn’t be true. I am exhausted by my family all while being amazed by the way that I love them…and in awe that they believe that my kisses and “love pats” have magical powers.   Tucking those little sweet feet into bed and covering up sweet babies during the night brings me nothing but pure joy.  Allowing them to sleep in until they wake up singing “Twinkle twinkle little star” to one another makes me wake with a smile.  Having the time to listen to my son playing the guitar and singing along is so enjoyable. Being able to stay up and visit if my oldest stops by is so nice. On the contrary, the 5:30 alarm wakes me with a panic.  The anxiety that comes over me on Sunday nights as I prepare for another work week causes my entire being to become panicked.  The exhaustion that I feel at 3:30 after dealing with 90 unique personalities, all while trying to teach them science, just can’t be sugarcoated over as anything except TIRED!  Now I know there is nothing wrong with being tired and I am certainly not lazy.  I don’t know how to explain it but if you deal with other people’s children, then I don’t have to.

Being a stay at home mama isn’t very profitable, at least if you are talking finances.  So here I go with myself round and round.  Do I enjoy these little years to the fullest or do I keep up this rat race? I wish I had the answers friends. Again, at times I believe I do.  I am praying for clarity, for peace, and for whatever decision that is made to be the right one.  My goal is to raise Godly children.  I don’t want to give my family what is left of me.  They deserve the best of me and with either decision, I pray that I can fulfill my role of wife and mother in a way that brings glory to God for all that he has blessed me with.

To be continued…….