Hello…Good-bye

What a hard and wonderful day!  Those who know me well know that I hate “good-byes”.  I’m also not a fan of showing my emotions in public.  But today I couldn’t hold back the tears as I walked through that hotel lobby with my sobbing kiddos trailing behind me after saying good-bye to our friends and neighbours for the last time.  The kids had played together nearly all day, sharing snacks and school time and lunch and a swim this afternoon.

Most of our supper time tonight was spent bemoaning the empty house across the street and wondering what life would be like without our neighbour friends.   When PJ asked where the second bottle of ketchup in the fridge came from, I could barely choke out their names and had to laugh at myself.  He said, “I didn’t know you had grown so attached.”  And you know what?  Me neither.  But there is something different about a neighbour friend than a friend across town.  When you become friends with a neighbour, you don’t mind exchanging favours, recipe ingredients, babysitting.  Your kids can play together any time without you having to coordinate a formal play date for a specific day, place, and time.  You’re already there when emergency strikes.  When the power goes off and fire alarms go on in the wee hours of the morning during a snowstorm, the whole thing turns into an impromptu pyjama party by candlelight.  And speaking of pyjamas, you don’t mind answering your door to a neighbour friend before changing out of those…or before donning make-up or even brushing your teeth for that matter.  You naturally share a few more of those behind the scenes moments of life.  

The neighbourhood feels a little lonely this evening, and I wonder if my kids will ever play outside again.  I didn’t realize what a comfort it was to have another homeschooler that close to home.  What a blessing it’s been!  If you currently have connections like this close to home, cherish them!  Enjoy the things you share in common.  Enjoy watching the joy it brings to your children.  Change is hard.  “Good-byes” are hard.  But I’m reminding myself that every “good-bye” starts with a “hello”.  I’m looking forward to one of those more scheduled play dates tomorrow afternoon with a homeschool mom I met recently.  Who knows what blessings will flow from these initial “hellos”? 

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Bedrest and Butter-fingers!

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I had heard of people being forced to slow down by life’s circumstances, forced into a break, a season of being sidelined. I had heard of that sort of thing before. Thing is, it’s never happened to me. Determined to force my way through any obstacle, running myself ragged, that’s more my style. I’m a fighter, and if I want to do something I just do it! Well, that is until about 8 weeks ago. Put on bedrest at risk of preterm labour with this pregnancy has acquainted me with the art of putting my feet up.

Letting things go is NOT my style, but oh, if you could only see how much I have let slip. Butter-fingers indeed! Instead of my predictable load a day, laundry has piled up. Convenience foods have replaced my healthy menu planning, and we have not eaten homemade bread or yogurt for months. Yes, you did read that correctly; I usually make a big batch of yogurt in my crockpot every week. Please don’t judge me. I am also used to baking all my own whole grain bread, pitas, tortillas, and buns. I’m a little obsessed with all things “from scratch”. Good grief, I even make flax seed hair gel every few weeks. So that gives you a bit of an idea of how far I have fallen! At one of the busiest seasons of my life, I’ve been forced into depending on the goodness and care of others for myself and my young children. This has not been an easy thing for me. I like to get things done, and, yes, I’ll admit, I like ’em done my way.

As difficult as these weeks have been, I do count them a blessing. They have provided me with a much-needed time of physical rest. I really don’t think I even realized how much I needed a time-out and even some time away from the noise and busyness of my life. Although, now as the time draws near for this little man to make his debut, I am faced with another stressor. I am just getting good at this resting thing, this letting things slide…and now I am faced with the certainty of life resuming its hectic pace with the added responsibility of caring for a newborn. And I don’t really see a way of easing back into things. A torrent of responsibilities and daily routines is looming on the horizon. The light at the end of my tunnel is not too attractive to me right now.

Yet again, God is giving me an opportunity to press in to Him in total dependence. I have been itching for a return to my normal life, but have been reminded that normal really doesn’t exist. Life is constantly changing, sometimes in big ways, other times just minutely. But as hard as I fight it, I’m powerless to stop it. I might as well just make up my mind to lean on Jesus and jump into this “new normal”.

Do you face change today or the prospect of it? Is it stressing you out? I challenge you to make up your mind to see it as an opportunity. Find the hope that God is holding out to you in this time of transition! He is there and will walk each step with you. Yes, you may need to continue to let some things slide. I know I will not be resuming all of my eccentric hobbies at once, but little by little, Jesus and I will build a new normal and new routines for this growing family!

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
(Psalm 32:8 NIV)

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