Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Not what I expected

Do you ever have these expectations for a certain event or season or day and find that your expectations were so far off the mark of what actually transpired? 

Last year our Christmas season was amazing.  I think it met pretty much ALL of my expectations and then some.  Somehow.  Not sure how.  Our Christmas day was one of my very favorites.

And perhaps it is because of the fabulous success of last year that this year I am feeling a little less Christmas-y.

Don't get me wrong.  I am enjoying this time with my family.  And perhaps the three teeth I had pulled last Monday, the two weeks of tooth ache prior and the recovery this following week have naturally dampened my spirits and hindered my ability to be as active about things this year.

But still.  We're having fun.  Mary and Joseph have moved slowly around the house and while there have been a few nights that Mary wasn't feeling well enough for travel (ie I completely forgot about them) they have amused the kids with some of their antics.  Last night they ran into a giant stop sign.  Last week they spent time playing a card game and another night read a Christmas book about Santa.

We managed to get out and do a few little light em ups a couple of weekends ago passing out a few candy canes and taping quarters to a little snack center at our local grocery store.

We had a really fun and magical Polar Express movie night this past weekend. 

And so it's not that I can't find the magic and fun times we've had this season.  I think it's more that it doesn't feel constantly like Christmas is coming.

I'm feeling the time crunch when I realized last night that Christmas is only a week away!  I have capes to finish and a quiet book to finish and I haven't wrapped a single gift yet.  One week!  I'm not ready.  I'm not ready for the Christmas season to be over.  I'm really really not ready.  It's not what I expected.

But it has been blessed and really in the end it's not about how I feel.  It's about how Jesus came into our world.  For the sole purpose of dying to save us from ourselves.  From our sin, our ideals, our expectations.  He wasn't what people were expecting either but He turned out to be pretty darn spectacular and so likewise I have a feeling this remaining week of the Christmas season will do the same.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The struggle

True story.  I struggle.

I struggle with being patient with my children.

I struggle with giving them the focus and attention that they need from me.

I struggle with being the role model they need to see.

I struggle.  A lot.  And I know in my heart of hearts that I'm struggling.  When I'm doing something that takes away my time or energy from my kids but is not truly more important than them, I generally know it.  I know I'm doing it.  I know I shouldn't be.  I continue most of the time anyway. 

I really really struggle.

I struggle even more with the internal war when one of my children makes a statement that tells me they know I'm struggling. 

My children have been asking for another baby for months.  Months.  And the one child who is probably the biggest proponent of another baby told me tonight that he would pray that I wouldn't have any more babies so that I wouldn't have to be irritated by them anymore.

Break my heart.  No seriously.  It broke my heart.  My poor, sweet, kindhearted child, I do not deserve him.  I do not deserve to be his mother or to receive his love.

This Christmas season I have been so focused on making it happen.  I lose focus on what I'm supposed to be making happen and find my focus so placed on the plans.  The lists.  The growing to-dos.  I was so excited for December first this past weekend.  I just knew that some magical switch would be flipped and it would be amazing and then, well it was just another Saturday.  We did some fun things together and it was great family time.  But there was a sense of feeling let down when Monday hit and it was just another day, in just another week, in just another month.  In what is traditionally my very most favorite time of the year I found myself feeling quite blah.  I've spent the past three days trying to figure out why and figure out how to shake it off.

And I think that tonight I've found my answer.  I've found my answer in some personal reflection after conversation with my two oldest children and what was meant to be a sweet request.  See I don't want my son to pray that I don't have more babies.  I want my son to know that I am home with them every day because I have chosen to be.  Because I want to be.  But the only way he will ever know that is if I act as though I want to be here with them.

I struggle with needing to find that awesome project or activity to do on pinterest and spending hours there rather than just creating a project out of supplies I already know we have.

I pin lists of must read books and yet the dozens upon dozens of books we have sitting on shelves throughout the house go mostly ignored.

I plan these elaborate ways to teach my children to give when really it's just so simple to create something together without all the planning and forethought and go and do.  I experienced that one Sunday in November.  The random opportunity to reach out and give kindness to a stranger who nobody else seemed to see. 

The resources are nice.  Don't get me wrong.  Lots of great ideas swirling in my head BUT when I'm spending more time scouring the resources than I am using them with my children they are no longer of any value to me.

Yesterday my house was a disaster.  It needed cleaned.  Dishes needed caught up, laundry needed put away, floors needed swept and mopped.  Yesterday I pulled out the Christmas stickers, construction paper, and crayons, I layed a folding table flat out on the middle of the living room floor (with the legs still folded under) and I let my kids go to town.  I flipped on a Christmas movie and I sat on the couch and was present with them while they colored, stickered, created with love cards for grandparents they miss.  It was one of the BEST afternoons I've spent in a long time.  One of the absolute best.

And I reflect on that and I reflect on a lot of things from the past few weeks and I sit here and still I struggle.

I just had to share.  I had to get it out.  I feel convicted.  I need to DO better.  Not just WANT to do better but to actually DO.  So if you don't see me around too much in the coming weeks or even months then it's probably a good sign that I'm struggling less. 

My Christmas gift to myself and my children the next few weeks is to focus on them.  Making sure they know by my actions and attitude that I love being here with them.  That I love doing things with them.  That they are not an inconvenience to me.

Win it Wednesday! Bow winner!

The bow giveaway has ended.  Thanks to all who entered the giveaways these past few weeks!  The winner of that adorable bow is Jenn R.  Jenn - I will have Caroline contact you asap about your prize.

Have a great Wednesday friends!