***Fall is my favorite****
1.) The past couple of years I’ve chosen a word. Something to focus on. Last year it was Listen. This year it’s Deliberate. When I chose it, I didn’t know that the concept would get so much hype, accompanied by words like mindful and intentional. But, I knew that I didn’t feel like I was spending my time the way I wanted to, or meeting all my goals.
When I picked it, I thought it meant meticulously planning my day. Creating time for an orderly house, time with the kids, time with God, time for me. It was stressful. It led to collisions. Keeping my home in order would collide with being present with my children. Being present with my kids would run over my writing goals. Each day I’d vow to be better. I stayed more or less caught in this cycle (ok let’s be honest I still am somewhat caught in this cycle) until I read Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott. She realizes she can’t grit her teeth and will herself into being more forgiving, organized or whatever. Instead, she asks for help/grace as she does her best. Only then, do the changes come.
The point isn’t to be deliberate about everything. That, in fact, is the opposite of my goal. The point is to have a clear vision of what my goals are. To take the time to think about what my day needs to look like to meet one or more of those priorities AND to ask God for help. To ask them to magnify my abilities, to see clearly, and to have a soft heart. The point is not to be deliberate in order to do everything I want and do it perfectly. The point is to be present in my life and to live it in a way that feels real.
2.) Along those lines. I was thinking about how to reach some of my writing goals. Most mornings AJ watches Daniel Tiger while I get ready and pick up whatever I can in a half hour. This morning I decided to save that screen time for later. I went to get a brush and came back to this…. Being deliberate about my choices doesn’t mean that everyone else will think about the consequences of theirs – or even that theirs will align with mine:) – He always goes for the waterproof.
3.) The power of belief.
Josh had been part of a gifted program in elementary school. They built robots, learned about stained glass, and made videos. Anna wanted to be in it. She tested in 3rd grade and didn’t get in. She cried and wondered if she was somehow less than the ones who made it.
She is on a club soccer team. Her coach is amazing. He pushes them, encourages them and yells things like, “No sweetie, use your left foot!” during games. Last year they beat all the other teams by so much that they got permission to play against the boys this year. They lost. And lost again. and again. The team worked hard. Her coach tried a new formation that required Anna to play all over the field. They won. They won again. and again. Anna played against boys at recess and won.
She decided that she wanted to test for the gifted program again. I told her that reading would help her in every area. So she decided to read for an hour every night (she didn’t always do it, but setting a goal tends to push you in the right direction). She tested again. She passed the first round. We waited anxiously for the second round results to come in. I rehearsed what I would say if she didn’t get in. She was just as valuable. She didn’t like group projects anyway. But I didn’t need to. She made it.
Last week the school choir had tryouts for solos for the Christmas concert. On her way out the door she said, “I want to try out. I think I’m going to.” She didn’t smile.
She tried out.
She didn’t get the part.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
She nodded. “I’ll just try next time.”
4.) I’m still listening to A Place for Us. I’m listening slowly. I rewind a lot. There’s certain books that speak to your life at that minute. This is one of them for me. Religion, parenting, relationships, family life, freedom. I need to buy it so I can mark it up. It’s about a contemporary Indian American Muslim family. I identify with each character for a different reason. The parents because they are trying so hard, and trying again. The sister who hates to cause contention. The brother who asks hard questions and doesn’t feel like he fits easily in his world… When 9/11 happened, they watched at their home in horror and cried. The next day, the girls went to school without their head scarfs. They didn’t know what the fear and anger of their neighbors would look like. It had never occurred to me that Muslim children had a reason to be scared at school. That Muslim parents had to be brave to send them.
5.) Currently, our nights are quiet. Soccer and football are done. The last volleyball game is Saturday. Dinner is rarely rushed- although I still wouldn’t describe it as calm. The kids have time to do the dishes. Everyone is getting more sleep. It is glorious.