Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pride Before the Fall

I just read my previous post about my routines, and how they have become my way of life. I have spent the past few days wondering why I am feeling sad, bored, and at times desperate. I had an ah-ha moment just now!

The past week has been very busy for me! My 5 year-old Princess Pea started Kindergarten, and my oldest child, and only boy, started third grade a few weeks ago. Three days ago my sister gave birth to her third child. I spent all day Monday at the hospital, and Tuesday night I actually spent the night with her to give her husband some time with the older two. (If you ever think you're ready for another baby, spend the night with someone's newborn. You'll know for sure if you really are ready!) We've also started fall gymnastics for Princess Pea, and soccer for our older two.

So in a nutshell the past few weeks have been hectic and filled with activity! The last few days have been calmer, but I have found myself, after sending the older two off to school, feeling extremely sad and have even begun to dread my days with my toddler! I've been trying to figure it out, "Am I sad because I'm left with just one? Am I missing my older two? Do I need to fill my schedule with more stuff to do?" I've even fleetingly contemplated that maybe I am feeling this way because I need to go out and do something for me, like get a job!!

This morning I was sitting with my sweet baby, and she was having a morning snack. I kept glancing up at the clock, wondering how much longer it would be until she takes her morning nap. Shame on me! Why am I feeling this way?!

It hit me. After all my talk of routines, and how they are what keeps my life running smoothly, I realized I have no schedule or routine for just my baby and I! It has been a few months since the two of us have had our days alone, and even then it was only 3 days a week for a few hours while older sister was in preschool. She was also less than a year old then. Now, at 15 months, she's a different child, with much different needs. I need to establish our daily routine, plain and simple. Now that I've identified the problem, I feel my whole outlook changing! I was looking for some outside activity or lifestyle change, when it was a simple shift in focus. How quickly my pride in my routines is squashed!

So today's one thing needful will be to establish a daily routine for baby and I. I'll share it when the kinks are worked out. As always, I'd love you to share what you do!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Establishing Routines for Prayer

I love routines. I've only come to realize this in the past few years. As a child, I was always very disorganized and I procrastinated a lot. As a young adult, my habits caused a lot of chaos in my own little world. Then, when I got married, the chaos encroached on my husband's life. I remember in our first year of marriage the arguments that would arise over the messy closets, the unbalanced checkbooks, etc. Looking back, I realize that it was because I never learned to put any routines in place. When my first child was born I quickly learned that I HAD to have routines with him in order to survive. Without realizing it my little schedules and routines spread to my household chores, my calender, my whole life! Now, almost 9 years later, I thrive on routines, look forward to checking off my lists. I realize that my children have given me that gift!

I have been yearning, over the past few months, to extend my routines to my prayer life and the prayer life of my family in general. My prayer life is definately lacking. My children are prayed for nightly, and we pray before meals, the easy stuff. But my husband and I rarely pray together, and we are awful at getting morning and evening prayers into our day as a family. So, I'm hoping that establishing a routine for this will make it a habit. Where to start? I'd love to hear any ideas you may have. I'll share what comes of it!

Oh, and in case your wondering, our first day of Kindergarten went great. She did fine, I cried all the way home!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday's One Thing

Today I was walking my 15 month-old around the house, her little hands grasping my fingers. Her older sister came into the room, and the youngest immediately thought this was a game of chase. Her squeals and laughter caught on, and soon the three of us were engaged in a game of tag. This evolved into an impromptu game of hide-and-seek. As the youngest and I were toddling around the house, looking for big sister, it dawned on me. Today is my last day with two. Tomorrow, my 5 year-old goes to Kindergarten. In that moment I was whipped back in time, remembering her firsts. How had this happened? Now, I have been through this before, my oldest is now a 3rd grader. But somehow this was different. Maybe it was because my 5 year-old was the baby for 4 years. I don't know. But as we ran around the house, in our last day of her smallness, I realized that today, this game of hide-and-seek was the one thing needful.

The One Thing Needful

I am constantly in search of "the one thing needful": as an Orthodox Christian, a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend. Sometimes I feel like I'm under a pinata. One of the new-fangled ones with all the strings. Which one should I pull?

I struggle daily with this, and sometimes feel like I'm running after my own tail. I often beat myself up at the end of the day, regretting all the distractions that I let take over my life. I find myself running around, doing the things I feel are important, but all too often forgetting The One Thing Needful.

Colette Jonopulos writes "As women we have so many responsibilities. It seems our time is not our own. With our homes, families, churches, and jobs we are constantly trying to accomplish more than seems humanly possible...It is easy to convince ourselves that we don't have the time to devote our spiritual life, but that is where the paradox lies. We must attend first to that unseen life, then we will be better able to organize the material areas of our lives." (The One Thing Needful: Meditations for the Busy Orthodox Woman)

This is my daily struggle. I am trying my best to put God first in my life, but find that I am often more like Martha than Mary. "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing." (Luke 10:41)

So today, I may pull the wrong string on the pinata. I can only pray that I'll eventually find the string that opens the door!