Wednesday, September 11, 2013

the pull on resources

It's not hard to be busy, is it?

I always find I go through seasons... Sometimes I look around and and we don't have much on our figurative family plate. Then, it seems that the next time I look around, we are slammed and editing is needed. If everything else in life seems to ebb and flow, it only makes sense that schedules do as well.

And I tend to be pretty protective of our schedule; this season more than ever. With Jerr in grad school full time on top of working all day, Roman in preschool, church groups, friend time, choir, and me teaching private music lessons, finding something to do isn't hard. Finding a free day to spend together is. Finding a free day to spend with friends is, too. Balance is necessary.

A good friend of mine in Cali used to compare maintaining your personal schedule to eating at a buffet. The buffet is full of good food but you only have one plate; only so much room to fill. I'm sure you have no problem understanding the analogy but I'm going to keep walking it out because I think there are good nuggets. To continue: if the mashed potatoes fill the entire dish, you don't have room for anything else. So sometimes you need to take only small servings of the good things- harder yet, sometimes you need to choose NOT to put some good stuff on your plate at all. Because you prioritize and try to find a meal of healthy food to nourish your body.

For me, that means regularly keeping a finger on the pulse of our family and knowing what to let in, and what to keep out. There are many invites we have to turn away, in the name of protecting our family and making sure we get family time. Sundays, for example, are labeled "family day;"  we don't make plans with anyone else, except for special situations, and Jerry has all his homework done so we can all spend the day doing something fun together. That helps us breathe. That also means no phone calls at certain times- meals, kid-time, or couple-time.

You know, one of the things I find most challenging is to balance friendships. My entire life, teachers called me a "social butterfly." That's just a nice way of saying, "Lauren never shuts up." I'm not offended- it's really true! Ha! I'm still the one causing a ruckus in the back row during a meeting. Or baby shower. Or choir rehearsal. ;) But my love for enjoying relationships with people means that I have had the opportunity to know some pretty incredible ones. We are spread all over the US, with different job descriptions requiring our time at different parts of the day. And I had the hardest time keeping in touch with every person I have ever loved throughout my life. I don't have unrealistic expectations at all, do I?

The down side is that, in addition to feeling like I never had enough time in my day, I also found myself dropping the ball on a lot of friendships; missing important moments and hurting hearts when I missed a phone call or didn't help to carry the load in challenging moments of life. And my heart started to become heavy with regret that I wasn't being the friend I want to be.

So I was inspired when reading Real Marriage, by Mark Driscoll, to sit down and literally write out the short list, we're talking 2-3 here, of people that were allowed almost-unlimited access to my time and energy. These were the ones I make sure get cards during hard days, regular weekly contact in some form, who I will rearrange my schedule for, to whom I will commit my time/energy/emotions. I then wrote out a second list, another 6-7 friends, who I wanted to be specific about checking in occasionally, so that I could continue to know how they were doing and maintain some sort of friendship. I recognize that could sound prideful, but it doesn't look like that in my heart. It had to happen because I was becoming stressed when I didn't know how to be what my family needed me to be, NOR what my friends needed me to be. That condition required me to become specific about where my time goes. It's being selfish with my time so I can be unselfish with my time, if that makes sense.

Do you find yourself doing the same things? Are you protective with your time? Have you found a good balance?

I'm trying... I'm learning that being successful at anything in life means being purposeful about that success. Sometimes that's a friendship, sometimes a marriage, sometimes motherhood and sometimes a chocolate connoisseur. Because let's face it, that requires some serious bonding time, too! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

celebrate each other

While driving the boys to the park on Friday, I had a really cool opportunity to celebrate with a complete stranger. That's what makes being a part of humanity fun, right? When you can share moments with each other. I'll describe:

We were pulling out of our development and I see an older gentleman and his wife on their bicycles. I can only assume they had ridden some sort of personal record for themselves, because he was fist pumping the air. Not wanting them to be alone, I made eye contact with them and started fist pumping in my car, hooting and hollering! He looked like this: 

That's when I realized he was making a right turn.

Boy, do I wish I was kidding.....

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Let's get one thing straight before I talk story with you- Roman can never know I shared this tale with you. Especially not when he is in high school. But golly, if kids don't come up with the craziest stuff...

Last night I walked into the bathroom to find Roman, undies to ankles, with boy-parts resting on the edge of the toilet. I stopped and gave him a very confused look, to which he says, "This way, I don't have to wash my hands!"

Work smarter, not harder, son. And then I laughed.

Don't worry, he still had to wash his hands ;)


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Preschool beginnings

My little turkey is in preschool.

This morning was a flurry of activity as breakfast was eaten earlier than usual, clothes picked the night before were put on, and the whole family headed out the door to take Roman to his first day of preschool. It was made extra-special by a daddy who chose to take the morning off work so we could all be there to watch him hang his little bag and find his name card. And the token photo holding the sign had to be done. And you know, I did alright!

I admit that I had a few moments of sad contemplation last night. I'm not sad he is growing- that excites me! As much as having babies brings me joy, the older they get the better! High schoolers are my favorite age, so the more independent they become, the more I enjoy life. For me, I feel joyful because we are moving! They are growing! And it's fun to watch! But last night I kept thinking about what a short time we have to mold these little people, before they have to fly on their own.

Yes, I know it's just preschool two days a week, and he is only 3. I'm not going to make it sound like a tragic "beginning-of-the-end" story like the first day of high school or something! But this is the first step. Now there are 6 hours a week where I'm not his teacher. Where he is spending it with someone else to correct him, cheer with him, equip him... And the hand-offs will continue growing.

That's what makes the first day of preschool hard. I feel the weight of the responsibility I have to raise him well increase. And in 2 years, I'll hand him off for 8 hours a day- when someone else will spend more waking hours with him than I do. And years after that, he'll go out and conquer the world or something! You see, it's the first step that has me observing with a solemn, understanding gaze.

So I take a small pause.

And then Liam and I high-five because we get to pal around like we never have, just mama and babe. And we shop. And we play. And we chum it up real nice. Because in only 3 short hours our comedy act returns to make the quiet spaces retreat once more.
And today, I was extra kinds of grateful for these two goobers. Because they are growing and they are joyful. And Roman is equipped well enough, at this point, to spread his wings and jump with smile, fearless and ready to take the next step however small it may be.

And that means I'm doing my job right.