Or: On How to Stop Over-eating, Over-worrying, Over-EVERYTHING, for crying out loud!
You may have noticed that I haven’t been blogging. There are at least two good reasons for this decision, seven of which I’m going to detail here.
The truth is, I was (trying to) squeeze every last moment of merit from the summer that flew by…and as it turned out, that didn’t involve putting things out there on the blog. Forgive me for this? I hope you do, because I have wanted to share this post for over a week now but was too busy squeezing my life like a lemon.
Drip! Drip! Drip! That’s the sound of me learning what’s most important.
Life lessons for the stubborn.
Also, this whole transfer to Word Press thing has been more of a time drain than I anticipated. Part of me wants to have a beautiful, relevant, helpful blog…and then the other part says, “Too much is at stake. I’ll tend to my writing when the kids need me less.”
(So, like, in 2030 when Francis is 18?)
It’s an extremely tough balance and I face it daily.
You face it too. We ask, “How to choose?”
Well, here are seven choices that I (tried to) make this summer. I wasn’t always successful but for the most part, I was. This mom-of-seven managed to find some peace while the world continually reeled around her.
I hope this list inspires you, too.
I. Let go of your Littles when They become Big
I’m gonna just cut to the chase here: we dropped John Michael off at college on Monday.
Believe it or not, I didn’t cry!
Not on campus, anyway. I did cry (a LOT) the night before, and then again that morning. The truth is, I’ve spent this summer preparing my heart and I’ve spent this summer preparing my heart and I’ve spent this summer preparing my heart.
Don’t quite know if I did anything else.
Long story short, there were highs & lows & bumps in the road, none of which I’m going to write about out of respect for his privacy. Yes, there were lots of personality clashes, and I realized…eventually…what I was really after.
I wanted him to be just like me.
Oddly enough, though, he is not! He is not a 48-year-old wife & mother who is 100% committed to God & family. He’s an 18-year-old young man with big plans…
…and I simply have to trust the system.
I “simply” have to let him go.
One Last Family Photo before He Left on Monday
Which brings me to What-I-Did-That-Was-Helpful Point Number 2:
II. Lean Heavily on your Friends
There was a ton of drama in my heart this summer, little of which my husband actually “got.” Seriously, one night he said to me point-blank: “I don’t have time for this drama.” This was a St. Therese moment for me. Do I sulk and pout and pitch a fit? Or do I make an act of selflessness and get over myself for the sake of our marriage?
I chose B!
And then I phoned a friend.
Tracy of Pinewood Castle
Why? ‘Cause they always got time for drama!
(The good kind of drama that you talk about over wine and/or Happy Meals.)
Karin, the Fearless (and Endlessly Joyful) Leader of our AHG Troop
You may think that you’re too busy to go out and the truth is, Mom, you probably are! Make time anyway; go out with your girlfriends.
Sarah from With a Hopeful Heart
Your husband can’t (and shouldn’t have to) handle it all.
III. Clean and Clear
My Marie Kondo-inspired tidying came to a bit of a halt in July. We’re redoing the ceiling in our family room and, well, I’ve been distracted.
Let me say this, though: Having a clean and decluttered home gives me peace–tremendous peace.
Pockets of beauty is my current goal.
(Decluttering is next.)
IV. Find a Park and your Sense of Peace
That said, sometimes ALL I NEED TO FIND MY PEACE is to spend time outside away from those four(ish) walls.
When in doubt, get up and go.
Your kids will thank you. You will thank you!
In the above picture, Francis is coming over to
request demand that I play. Seriously, he took my book right out of my hands and zipped it up inside my purse.
Here’s a visual.
That’s okay. I needed the exercise.
V. Cull what’s Unnecessary and/or Harmful
I’m not going to use photos to illustrate this point because what I’m going to say is too important. That sounds presumptuous, but honestly, I did a ton of intellectual culling this summer and it was the best thing I could have done.
What do I mean by “intellectual culling”? I mean that I tried to be super vigilant about what I let into my head.
Here’s an example: I am more or less addicted to Facebook. Could I go a day without clicking over? Probably not. You might be thinking, “So what? I am too!” Well, have you ever clocked the amount of time that you spend there? I have, and it’s always more time than I have.
Another problem, for me anyway, is that I’m not intentional about what I read at Facebook. I can’t be! It’s the luck of the draw! And so I sit, passively absorbing it all, and this bothers me because I HAVE NO CHOICE.
ISIS beheadings, drowned Syrian refugees, an aborted child getting its poor skull cracked…
My heart pretty much breaks and that’s not good. My husband and children need a happy wife!
Bottom line: I need to guard my heart. I need to be mindful about what I read, and that meant (this summer) books by Gretchen Rubin and Tolstoy.
Anna Karenina! Required reading for Well-Read Mom!
We’re all different, right? And what you need to be at peace in your world is going to be different; I accept that. I just can’t be a news junkie anymore because too much of that news takes me away from my vocation. It drains my energy and attacks my hope.
“If your eye is sound,” said the Lord, “you whole body will be full of light” (Matt. 6:22). Simplify your judgment. Do not turn things over and over, but instead proceed directly and with confidence. In this world there are only two things: you and God. Nothing else should disturb you, unless God should so command it, and then only to that extent. Keep your sight fixed upon God and yourself.” (St. Francis de Sales, A Rose among Thorns)
VI. Become a Believer in Second Chances
Uffda! That got kinda heavy! Here’s a cute kid photo to lighten up the mood:
These kids. They keep me young and age me prematurely.
I love and need their innocence.
VII. Ask God for the Graces that You Need
Finally, and most important of all, I recommend spending more time in prayer. You can’t go wrong, really; time spent with God is time well spent.
I know this sounds obvious but sometimes the obvious escapes us.
Give Him five as often as possible, and then when that’s becomes a habit, give Him fifteen or even thirty.
You won’t regret it.
I know I don’t.