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Monday, August 28, 2017

New Beginnings

Sometimes, uncharted waters. Sometimes, back to the grind of monotony and stress. New beginnings can be scary and challenging. The beauty of starting new is the opportunity to reflect back on what worked, what didn't, what could be better, or what should be improved (removed). In many scenarios, there is little control over how or when things start, but we certainly have control over how we carry ourselves through change.

I recently took a 'leave of absence' from a 20 month long bachelors program. Prior to that, it was 9 months of grueling stress, while keeping up with four kids, a marriage, a degree, a home, work, and all the extras that come with little people. The last four weeks allowed me time to disengage from stress, and gave me time to reflect. It gave me the chance to enjoy my kids, keep up on mundane tasks such as meals, cleaning, laundry, etc., and gave me time to enjoy family and friends. Mundane never felt so good.

What I realized is that the last 9 months was a vicious cycle of overcoming and survival. My home had spun out of control. This didn't happen, however, without great effort and success in other ways. I did very well in school, and whatever time I had left was spent conversing with my kids, cuddling over a feel-good show, books, or staying up way too late with my husband. Everything else could wait. And it did.

Thinking back on what life was like in 2016-2017, it caused very unpleasant feelings. I never want to go back to that. Never again. How do I go back, when the feeling of what was, and what will be, plagues with a great big pit in my stomach? How am I going to do this!? This question tossed around in my head for weeks.

After speaking with my husband about wanting to quit, he helped me see that that was not the best solution. "You're in the thick of it," he said, "half way through! There's no way you're quitting. If we need to minimize and cut back, well then, we need to do that. But you are not quitting. We'll get through this." After that, I knew I had to change my tune. All this time, I had been asking the wrong question. I could either cave to stress, quit, or do something about helping me become successful. For me, the answer is in: focus, schedule, simplify, prioritize. Here's where this applies to all of us:

The call in your life is far greater than the complications that arise while striving toward success. Success is not written without, first, great struggle. When self-doubt causes you to question yourself, look to the person(s) who knows you most, and who sees your full potential. Stay clear of people who cater to weakness.

I'm back at it again. The new course started Wednesday, called Research Methodology and Statistics. Yikes. It will be another hard nine months of pushing through adversity, toward the finish line.

Whatever it is that you're staring new: a new job, school, baby, marriage, etc. Let go of those things in life that just keep you busy, unless it is truly what you need to do now, or unless it feeds your soul.

As far as being a parent, and thinking about my kids...what do my kids need, more than anything, at this point in life? Is it sports? Extra-curricular activities? A slew of classmate birthday parties, and class events? Another reason to race the clock, get packed up, againafter a long, exhausting day? Or do they simply need time in the day to enjoy a moment that is unscheduled? A moment to smile and be well. Yes, I'm sure that's it.

As parents, we shouldn't have to force passion into our children. We often fill up their days, so full, in order to see that they are well-rounded, amazing, "best of the best," and good at everything, but there are two problems with this: first of all, no one is good at everything, and second of all, when we fill up their lives, they don't have a chance to find passion for themselves.

Life is full. Think about what you need now and through the next year. It's easy to focus so much on the future, that we lose the importance of today.

God, be with us as we embark on new beginnings in our lives. We need you to guide and steer our choices. We need strength to get through the tough stuff, resilience to keep fighting the good fight, and continued support and affirmation from the right kind of people. If at any point, something has to give, please kindly and clearly bring this to our attention. Sometimes, we come to a decision that is not in our best interest. Trusting that you keep our best interests at heart, we humbly ask that you make clear to us what is burdensome, hindering, distracting, or keeping us from coming into our full potential. For all the good you have done, and continue to do - Thank you! In Jesus name, amen.

Make time to smile and be well. 😊

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~ a memoir of motherhood and life