Contentment

Y’all have been here for awhile. You know me. I don’t like the cold. I do not look forward to sweaters and boots. I could easily walk away from this state for several months each year and live happily (don’t worry, I’m not going to do that). Last winter was a hard one for me, I went into it with a much better attitude and I held onto that positivity well into January. The season dragged on though, it always does. Do what you will to save your own sanity; stay in Autumn until the winter solstice, reach out and grab Spring while there is still a foot of snow on the ground. The ice and snow, sub-zero temps, layers upon layers…I can not love it.

I do hope to avoid the endless slog of sadness this winter though. I’m going to make an attempt to photograph and write about the things that bring me joy. Joy on the journey; that’s sort of one of my “things”. I don’t know exactly how it’ll go, but I have some ideas. My hope is that in sharing the things that are beautiful and warm and meaningful here on this page I can stay afloat just a bit higher this year. I want to look at this winter as a season of rest, a time to nourish and refresh. Instead of as the cold, dark place in my soul that I fall into and struggle to escape.

Please understand that I will not anticipate or be loving the winter, but I’d like to do more than survive it. The last few days I’ve felt myself slipping into bad winter-time habits; hiding indoors, sending my children out while I stay in, bundling myself in with books and blankets, not stepping out around the fire on the deck for fear of the chilly bite in the air. I am not going to do this for the next six months, I am not. I mean, except for the book part…totally going to do that.

As Autumn continues to swirl the yellow leaves in my yard as opposed to swirling snow I am choosing now to look at each good thing for what it is, not at what it is not. The leaves are crunchy under my feet, my scarf is soft and warm, the sky is clearest blue…these individual joys hold merit on their own. They do not have to be made better by comparing them with the cold-that-is-not-quite-yet-here. I know this now, but I’m posting reminders on my calendar to come back and reread these words, lest I forget.

My attitude change toward winter is a hard fought battle for me, you all know. Earlier this Summer, in deciding to stay, I found that Paul’s words came to me again and again; “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…” (from Philippians 4). Don’t get me wrong, winter is nowhere near the conditions Paul is referring to, I get that. I will not compare my minuscule “suffering” to his. What I did do though is realize that my struggle with winter was not what God wanted from or for me. Yes, I believe He wanted to hear all of my complaints, to trust Him for a way out, to listen to His peace spoken in the still, small hours of frozen mornings. He also wanted me to learn, to grow, to not stay in that place where I could not, at least, be content regardless of the weather outside.

To be content has become my goal for the season ahead. I am reminding myself that contentment comes from Christ. I can (and oh! have I) worry over all. of. the. things., but this will bring my soul no rest. There is no contentment in my old fallback anxiety. I worry still, that I will succumb to the darkness and despair over the winter as I have in the past. In this worry I remembered some more of Paul’s words though and they reminded me how very not-alone I am. Both in my hatred of the season and in my desire to find joy in it.

“Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.” (from chapter 4, verse 14)

I have an amazing circle of women who I will rely on to keep me on a positive track and who will allow me to complain a bit too. I am hopeful that they will continue to “share in my troubles” and that we will lift each other up without fear of giving too much. I will beg a lot of grace from my family when I don’t want to go out, and they remind me of these words, and I regret writing them because it means actually bundling up and going out, and they will give it because they are so, so good to me. It will be so good of all of you to share in my troubles.

Ultimately, I have no idea how to make this Minnesota winter, and the many I can see in my future, positive. I’m open to suggestions that do not involve actually going out into it! I’m looking for ideas that will be fulfilling, while remembering who I am fundamentally. So, while I will likely take the kids ice skating a handful of times, I have no desire to purchase snowmobiles or an ice fishing shack. Though I will take them sledding, I will still be happier to make the cocoa when we get home. There will be long underwear under my jeans and there will be stocking caps on my head until May, and I refuse to be happy about either, but I will choose to be content in the love and peace God continues to offer me.

My kids on the beach in South Texas last year…one of my favorite wintertime memories!

Snatches of Time

I put all of my people to bed early tonight. I had ambitious hopes of coming here and writing out the cries of my heart. Nearly an hour later I am still up and down the stairs with a child who feels less than wonderful. I am frustrated by this because I really needed the time. Instead of tapping away peacefully I am scribbling snatches of thought between whispered prayers and requests for essential oils. I see the selfishness in this rant. I really do.

I have been holding off on writing, feeling as though the time would come if I let life flow naturally. We aren’t so busy, the days are not over full, the time seems to skip happily away while I play Legos with a little or read endless chapters to fill their imaginations.

I know what you will say; this is a momma’s most precious work! Her most important job! Be grateful!

I am.

I agree.

I still want something more.

While this rambling will likely never support my family, how can I know that when I can’t even steal an hour at the end of the day to type out a coherent thought? When and where (and most of all how???) am I supposed to build an audience when I can’t build a proper paragraph for lack of focus?

I have my excuses it’s true.

I don’t mean to have quite so many.

I’ll admit to being distracted plenty of the time. With projects. With Facebook. With catching up on years of lost sleep. Still, it seems I should be allowed this time for me. This time to do something that makes me feel like I’m intelligent. Something that is meaningful to at least a few of you dedicated friends. Something that let’s me deal with the anxiety and fear and despair that creep in during the darkest months of the year.

What to do? I feel the call of the early mornings again. Though I despise waking before the sun or at least before six AM, I know that my house is quiet then. Children typically don’t stir early. Devices need to be charged. Tasks must be quiet so as not to wake sleeping babe’s. This frustrates me, I do not want to give in to that time of day. It seems that I must though. No other hours will relent their needs.

If you notice a few more posts in the coming weeks, you can assume that I have given in to the deepest cry of my heart -the desire to create something from myself, from who I’ve learned that I am- and that my heart has won over the logical side of me who really loves to snuggle back into the comforters every morning.

If you don’t hear from me for awhile, don’t be too disappointed, there are lots of words out there. Trust that the right ones will come to you as you need them. I’ll keep etching out moments, minutes, corners of time that will continue to build my story, and make my own spilled out thoughts that less rambling once they meet the page.

The Reasons I’ve Not Been Writing

I don’t know if you’re wondering where I’ve been. Are you curious why there are no ramblings coming from my tiny clearing in the internet forest? Truth is, I wish the words would come. I wish I still felt the need to write every damn morning. I had the desire for so long and I would get really upset when I didn’t drag myself out of bed early enough each day. If the littles beat me to the living room I knew my chances were shot, if I took too long sipping coffee I could just forget it.  There was so much from my past that I wanted to sort through, and writing it all out really did allow me to move past a mental place that I’d been stuck in for far too long. As I sit down to type these days, I find myself slipping. Slipping into this normalcy.

When I was trying to remember the who and why of me I could pour so much out and still feel like I wasn’t scratching the surface of all the emotions I wanted to explore. It took some time and while I’m certain that I didn’t share everything that I’ve been working through publicly, I am in a good place now. Mentally at least, the weather outside is indeed frightful and I am not looking forward to the next five months.

This sense of being in a positive place, has brought on the writing difficulties though. My life now is what I would call average, easier than it has been, well, probably ever. There is no drama or anxiety or fear gripping at me these days. Which means there is nothing much to write about. Not really anyway. When I write about my kids, which I have done in a couple of other places, I know without doubt that I don’t want that type of writing to become my norm (though this one about my girl is good; Growing Up). I love being a stay-at-home/homeschooling momma-like a lot, but sketching out these little pieces of my soul on paper for y’all is my escape, my break from that part of myself. I get fifteen-hundred words to tell you how I am not “just” a mother and that’s really important for me to remember. Writing about day to day mothering does nothing to fill my cup, I need to keep this outlet for my own self-expression.

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When I write about my garden or the seasons and my joy related to those things I am happy, but these topics aren’t personal. I don’t feel a connection with the people I write for and that is a big piece of why I write as well. I want to know I’m not the only one, I want to hear you say “you too?, I thought I was the only one…!”. I want to see that the time I steal is meeting people where they’re at and that the ramblings that I simply must get out of my head actually matter to someone other than me. I struggle to feel that when the writing is quiet and peaceful. I like to write about gardening and I have learned, or understood rather, some of my best lessons while surrounded by nature (read here for an example of that; Teacher Bees), but gardening is a different piece of my heart and it’s not the one I most want to express in written form.

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I’d like to write about the adventuring and the travel and a life lived differently (this one is pretty good; Little Adventures), but we still aren’t there. Winter in Minnesota doesn’t favor much in the way of exploring (though we have been doing fairly well so far). At least not for a girl who does not want to go out in the cold for more than an hour or so a couple of times each week, and so my opportunities to write about wanderings are fewer and farther between. This is painful to admit. Primarily because the travelling sustained me over the Summer, I rarely felt like running. I felt connected to the earth and was trusting my place in it. Now the most mystical thing in my life is my Pinterest page full of poetic quotes and lush, forest landscape photos. That is sad to type out here friends.

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And so there are no words to share to you each week. No thoughts that beg me to give them a voice. No aching in my heart of hearts to cobble out a little quiet space and scribble these sentences…which causes me heartache, because I miss it so.

I miss it so.

I recently began giving my ten-year-old writing prompts at her request. She wants to write and she asked for help in becoming a better writer. I feel that I may need to follow her lead. I may take this space and this outlet and start writing some decidedly random (can I get much more random do you think?) articles or pieces of thought. I feel like perhaps that will lead me to what I want to share here, and that it will help me find that part of myself that I want to share with you all. I hope it will anyway. As the next few weeks come and go I further hope something that I give my time to will reach you, but I’m warning you it may get sketchy for a stretch.

I’m not afraid to set the writing aside if that’s what’s needed, but I keep coming back to it. Because I do, I feel that I should sit with it awhile, try to decide if there are words that have value still needing to be expressed. Or if there is something else out there for me, waiting to be discovered once this medium has fulfilled its need. I feel like whatever is next is right there on the edge of my consciousness, just waiting for me to catch up. I’ve asked myself to be patient and not rush along, I have time to understand what is next.

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I realize that I am in a waiting season again and I am comforted, I’ve been here before. It’s a quiet space to take the time needed to grow, to decide, to trust myself again. The waiting season will always remind me of my garden, hidden under the frozen ground, waiting for a Spring thaw to wake it back up…the plants will be healthy and strong from this time of rest and I can come out of this Winter full of the knowledge and peace that I’m looking for. Perhaps this is what the lack of writing is helping me with?

 

 

 

Little Adventures

Some days you’re living the dream. Other days are less so. I’d be hard pressed to put a label on today. Five days in to our Alexandria, MN trip and we are starting to figure some things out. For example we actually did school the last two days, and it went pretty well. Sleeping is wonky, but then, it’s that at home too.

After school, the littles and I loaded up and went into Alexandria. We were planning on finding a swimming beach-I was sure we had passed one yesterday-and having a picnic. We never found the beach, but did have a great time while we were out.

We found a quiet county park for our picnic…

….and stumbled across these gorgeous Greater-Yellow Lady-Slippers near Brophy Lake.

We came home and I thought we’d be able to swim in the pool at least, but the dog wouldn’t stop barking and the rules of the pool were inflexible. My tiny was tired and cranky, stretching her meltdowns to surpass her personal best.

My littles really are amazing, they rolled with the inconveniences as best they could and still managed a pretty full and fun afternoon. My teeny though, she’s spent. This week has been a lot too much for her I think. I know she’ll fall into a routine, I just wish it would happen soon. As I was typing this, she crawled into my lap, pulled her favorite blanket across us and promptly fell asleep.

It’s a pretty cozy spot, so I’m not complaining. Sure, I wish it would have happened three hours earlier, but I’m really working on rolling with whatever comes.

I did have a lot of complaints from today, I listed them all off and sent them over to my sweet, hard-working husband. I know that when I do that he feels stuck, unable to help because he’s not here. Sometimes I just need to spill it all out, I wish I had another way to deal with it. I wish there was some way for me to move past the frustration without venting it to him. A lot of the time I just need someone else to hear me, to know that I’m here, that I’m struggling. Usually that’s enough.

Tomorrow is a new day. We are thinking of heading all the way back to a friends house for a day of playing outside. That will definitely help my momma sanity. We’ll also be able to drop our doggy off at home to relax in her crate. I could use a little time to not have her leash in hand, time to let my littles run wild with friends, time to talk with my own friends. It’s always good to do something familiar when you’re feeling stretched thin. I’m looking forward to some normal activity.

Sitting in my camper with my Bible, my journal, my cuppa; these things comfort me and give me a little bit of peace in our new environment. Hopefully I’ll be able to hold on to these things tomorrow and the day after that, because part of this path I’m on is supposed to be a greater sense of quiet. Right now I’m in that place, snuggled in close with this teeny girl. I’ll not rush myself along to the next thing, rather I’ll sit with her under a blankie, listening to her breathe softly. Seeing the quiet that was carved out just for me.

 

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My Life is Not Horrible

The sun rises on a new day. One where I can start fresh without the grouchy mood I was in yesterday. My tiny slept all night last night, she was so tired from such a busy day of playing outside. My teenager was home before we went to bed so I didn’t have to wake when she came in or when she wasn’t in on time. I was finally able to sleep. For those of you with littles I know that you hear me when I shout for joy over something as average as a full night of sleep. It was definitely a gift to my foul mood.

Honestly there should have been no reason for my misery, the day was beautiful, we met friends at a new park and my kids hunted tadpoles wildly for three hours. They found frogs, leeches, snails; my tiny and I even found out how cold the water was when she tumbled off a rock into knee-deep pond water. That’s not why I was crabby though. The park we drove to was about thirty minutes away and while the older two read on their kindles the little one looked at picture books, they were quiet and patient when I got lost following my phone’s GPS to the back side of the park, not where our friends were. I wasn’t upset and moody because I got lost either. I was really sort of sick of listening to myself whine too.

It was a really great day, I’m about to make you feel not-bad for me here. After the park we squeezed in a nap and some play time, made it to dance and the library. Then, back at home my kids helped me prep homemade pizza (if you feel like telling me to shut-up about my problems, I don’t blame you). No amount of sunshine, fresh air, or easy-to-parent-behavior was able to help me shake my mood though. Does that ever happen in your life?

We talk a lot about choosing joy in our house. My little guy feels big feelings, all of them, good or bad, or angry or sad or happy, all of his emotions are bigger. His reactions are big too, sometimes I just don’t know what to do or what say to him because of this, it is who he is and while I don’t want to change him, I do want to help him learn how to manage himself in the small things that feel big so that someday he can manage the actual big things. I try to remind him to choose joy over frustration, peacefulness over aggression, smiles over frowns. It’s hard for/on both of us. Yesterday though, it was me who could not get the joy to take hold, regardless of my effort while he was full of smiles and squeals of delight.

It only took a few words to make my day suck. After those words came out they could not be taken back or repaired with an “I’m sorry”. I thought that perhaps sitting with my Bible and reading God’s truth for my angry heart would cancel out the previously spoken words. While I found a few moments of peace there, I could not lose the frustration I felt in my body. My eyes were opened a little to how my boy feels and how hard it can be to turn this type of mood around. In fact, if someone had told me to “choose joy”? I might have smacked them in the face…just saying.

This goes back to my Expectations and them getting the best of me I suppose. Why shouldn’t I be happy? Why can’t I enjoy an easy week or two after the screaming difficulty that was the end of my winter? Why can’t I utilize learning opportunities with friends? Does every day have to be hard and hated? I knew the answers to these questions and still I felt that I should not be able to enjoy a couple of “field trip” type days with my littles.

I’ve sat with this post for awhile (obviously) and I listened to God speak into my heart about why a few words were so meaningful and hurtful. And do you know what I came back to? Guilt. Yep, that’s what it is. I feel guilty for pursuing my one life with a wandering passion that drags me through wild and crazy mental places. I’m doing the things I want to with my life. Homeschooling better, unschooling my littles, gardening in anti-suburbanite fashion in the middle of suburbia, contemplating living full-time in the insanely large camper that my sweet husband backed into our driveway. See, I’m out there doing the things that I feel my life needs to be whole on someone else’s dime. That’s why the guilt.

Now, before anyone starts saying how I work just as hard, I’d like to acknowledge that while that is true, my contribution does not keep food on the table or campers in the RV park. I know my place as stay home parent and educator is important and I don’t discount that it is. But…My husband is unable to quit a job that he does not love, we need the insurance, the paid vacation, the paycheck. He sacrifices his ability to follow his own wild life to finance mine. Can y’all feel my guilt yet? This is why it hits me so hard when he jokes about the perceived ease of my days. This is why when I was mopey and pissed off last week I could not shake it. Because he is so sacrificial for us.

This hit me pretty hard and while I know that there are other reasons that we aren’t sitting on a beach somewhere, I have realized that his devotion to me, to us, to stay at a job he dislikes so that I could have happiness, is actually a really big deal. I would not want one of my own children to forgo their own dreams, but if they did? I’d pray it would be for a reason like this. How do I not feel guilty when I am listening so closely to the words I speak to myself, so closely in fact that I am allowing those words to be louder than any other voices I let in. The selfishness I see in myself in my present state of self-care is only heightened by the sacrifices he makes for me. I wonder if I have bent too far to an extreme, where I am not giving enough in my marriage…I hope that is not the case.  I hope too that our dreams could be woven together, built upon each other, and that the wildness of each of our souls could be felt and known, expressed in who we really are and by what we actually do.

Now I will try to figure out where I go from this thought. If I really believe that we all should do the thing that seems most crazy to the world but most sane to ourselves, how do I help my husband to do that? It would cause a good amount of chaos in our lives. It may require faith that feels beyond me. It may just mean making some sacrifices that I am not ready to make, yet. I am one of the first to tell you how hard a lot of my days are, in a first-world, poor-me, wah-wah-wah sort of a way. Over the summer I aim to change that, because I am beyond cared for, loved and blessed. There is more to me than this whining, no really, there is. I hope you’ll come along for the journey. My eye’s have once again been opened to the gift and the joy that is my life, and if I continue to see it as the opposite? Well, I have no doubt that my perception will become my reality.

 

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Living in the Arctic Circle…No, Really.

What if I don’t want to friends? Several people, over that last couple of weeks have told me that I should simply embrace this cold, that I should enjoy this long winter. They have suggested that I take up snow-shoeing or cross-country skiing. That I should buy warmer clothes, wear the snow pants. That all of this cold and misery causes us to enjoy the short summer more. This is messed up logic y’all!

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If the summer was longer; I would be out there! All of the days that are warm, all of the days that the sun is shining, all of the days that drip with humidity and heat! I would not be longing for cool weather or waiting for the first snow to fall, I’d be soaking in the sunshine, digging in the dirt, splashing in the water! I would not have to anticipate summers arrival because it would have already arrived. I’d be there! I did try to have a reasonable attitude this year, but winter has been unreasonable in response. There has been snow and cold in seven of the past twelve months…why do I live here?!?

I’d love to tell you that I’m trying to tie this rant about coldness to some deeper meaning thought…but I’m not. This is simply me ranting. Aren’t you glad I have access to so many people via this blog? We had these crazy long icicles hanging from our deck-side roof, some of them exceeded two feet in length. After yet another recent snow, and a day of children playing out there, it looked like a small herd of unicorn lay sleeping on our deck under a pristine, white blanket.

 

Today it is melting, but there is so much more cold, wet, miserable snow in our forecast that I just cannot even! One of my bright, sweet girls reminded me that, “God has a reason for all things…”.  I sarcastically, and honestly, replied to her that the only reason I could see for God allowing this relentless winter was to convince me to move away from it! I have no #winterjoy. The depression only deepens and the sadness overwhelms and my own drama makes me want to gag.

I know what needs to happen, big wheels have been set in motion, I will not do this sulking again for the length of an entire Minnesota winter. It’s just not in me. Stay tuned dear friends, the heat of Summer will return!

 

Sick and Well

This was written about a year ago. The small things I had begun when I scratched this out have been healing me for over a year now. It’s amazing how one change leads to the next…especially when you trust God with the results….

IMG_7651.jpgSometime ago I began this article about why we stretch so far financially. Ultimately, I had to set the writing aside because I got sick. Again. When a few of my children then got sick, I basically abandoned that post. Honestly there are many more bloggers out there who are much better equipped to tell us that we don’t need to spend money on all-of-the-things. When I went back to look over my outline of thoughts I noticed that the ramblings about spreading ourselves financially thin actually spoke to me about how I budget myself. My time, my kindness, my patience, my “yeses”… you know, the bucket from which I pour out.

Here it is: I get sick a lot. I have this chronic issue that I can’t figure out on my own and that I have yet (after a couple of years struggling) chosen to go see a doctor for. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible. I am not confined to bed for weeks at a time or in serious pain for hours on end. Just consistently, month after month the same issues reappear. Annoyingly. Frustratingly. Obnoxiously. I’ve dealt with it in many different ways and though it brings it’s own bit of difficulty to our household, I really shouldn’t complain, but sometimes I still do. I have known for a long time that a person can’t give more of themselves than they’ve been given. You have to invest time and energy into yourself when you are a constant care-giver or you will run out of care to give. I’ve begun to do this more and more, realizing that when I try to shake every last drop of energy I have out onto my family, things don’t really go so well for me.

This emotional budget of mine; this amount of self given out verses the amount of self-fulfilling coming in is almost as difficult for me as keeping my checkbook balanced. Maybe even more so. We’ve basically figured out how to live within our financial means without creating much debt to muddle through, but I continually get to a point of frustration with how I manage the allotment of myself. It seems that I am always running on empty and I wonder how much of this is connected to being sick so often. If I had a better quality of self-care would I physically feel better?

Sometimes when you write something down it becomes painfully obvious.

The question then becomes; how do I change the way I mother to allow for proper personal time when I am so accustomed to the cycle I have now? See, what I do now is provide constant care to my littles, grabbing a quiet ride home once a week or so until I am so frustrated that I could scream. Then my sweet husband sends me out to find peace at the library or coffee shop for a few hours. This has kept my overall sanity in check, but I am wondering, if I could get ahead of the screaming, could I keep myself healthier? This has been gnawing at me for awhile now and stealing the mornings was my first attempt at listening more carefully to my body. I think I will have to set up appointments with myself, opportunities to get out before the desire to drive cross-country sets in.

Am I the only one this is difficult for? I’m thinking not, you likely have your own ill-used methods of caring for yourself. This morning I’m suggesting a small shift in how you utilize that method. If you’re like me at all you frequently get to the point where you are mentally exhausted, you feel that one more “MOM!!” shouted from a bedroom will send you to the brink of insanity. If you have tinys who aren’t yet sleeping through the night your physical exhaustion may be the thing that does you in. If you sit through church services managing the needs of your kids instead of letting the message sink into your very soul then you are likely spiritually exhausted as well. Viewed individually, all of these things seem small. When you add them together week upon week can you see how you’re going to end up feeling?

The shift is just in remembering that you will feel exhausted or burnt-out at some point, and taking the time today, before the crazy-you shows up. You know you’ll be overwhelmed by your mothering gig in a couple of days, so why not ask for the time now? I know it’s hard. I know looking at your sweet husband and telling him that you need a break before you lose your mind is difficult. But I propose it is ultimately better! A friend told me recently that she read about doing three small acts of self-care each day. I’ll admit this sounded overwhelming to me. Three things each day that were just for me? I immediately thought that either the small things would feel like one more thing to check off of my list or that I couldn’t do big enough things to make a difference every day. In the interest of my own self-care I am hoping to try this out. I can not continue to be sick, something has to give….

So I just typed all of that and I am going to walk away now. These thoughts and plans will, optimistically handle my mental well-being. My physical health though, that’s where I am seeking healing this day. Will this preemptive resting, this seeking out of peace in advance of illness assist me in not succumbing? I’ve wondered quite long enough. And so I will walk away now, and take a chance or two…

Over the past five weeks I have made some changes in how I care for myself. There have been many frustrations along the way, the assumed bronchial infection that I’ve been living with has fought hard against my measures to break it down and expel it from my life. Taking up residence in strange places and providing an interesting look at how a body works when we let it. I am hopeful that I am near the end of the residual side effects. I am feeling closer to well than I have in a very long time, and I am grateful. I still do not take enough time to care for myself, looking at a day and seeing all of the reasons why I should not seek quiet instead of looking inside my soul and seeing the one reason that I should. I have allowed myself to trust that the process is working and that is a big step for me.

As I look back over the past five weeks I wonder over how my body works, over the strengths of both habit and bacteria. More time is needed, forgiveness too, of myself in the amount of time I am taking to get back to good. I have been living unwell for a few years now, I suppose healing will not come in only a few weeks. I can take the time, walking slower than I thought I’d need to, leaning into my own heart and not allowing the rush of the world to make me feel that I am healing too slowly. That is a good lesson to be reminded of. Peace, and wellness, comes in trust not through fear… or hurry… or anxiousness. I know that all of those will build up inside of me in the same way and they will not bring about good.

I am wondering more. I am reading more. I am giving myself up to the tiredness and I lay down to sleep. I am making a plan to wander more and the inevitable garden sketches of deepest winter are making their way onto paper. I don’t manage three things for myself each day; I don’t know that I will reach that goal while my children are small. I have begun allowing myself a few minutes of quiet after lunch though and just yesterday I lay down on the living room rug as the winter sunshine poured through the windows. Yes my tiny promptly plopped down on top of me and within minutes my other two were sprawled next to me. I quickly reminded myself that they can’t steal the sunshine from me. That’s a good lesson too.

If you need peace for your mental or physical health I’d love to chat about what you’re doing or let you in on what is working for me in this season. If you need prayer to find that peace I’d be blessed to come alongside you. From the deepest part of me I know how sicknesses can build, one on top of the other. Exhaustion, lack of self-care, continually putting the needs of others before your own…in mothering we do all of these things and there is no end in sight. There are too many words written here to begin how a closer and stronger community of women would benefit each of us. It will come soon, the community piece is a large part of why and how I am choosing to seek wellness. For this day, I will sit with my coffee for a few extra minutes, waiting for the late-rising sun, trusting that even if I am still unwell- doing good for myself is not wasted energy.