Wednesday, October 10, 2012

before I hit my desk I hit my knees, or, how I redecorated from the inside out

Sometimes you just need a change, right? I like my life to stay calm and steady, but sometimes I just need to shake things up a bit. And I've felt like that a lot lately. Just a little off. Sometimes it is so hard to just "be" in the moment. Sometimes I feel as though we have just been in this holding pattern for years. Waiting to meet my husband. Waiting to start a family. Waiting to start the adoption process. Waiting on another country to approve us as parents. Waiting on travel documents. Waiting to save money. Waiting to move. Always with the waiting. And always with the wanting. We so frequently want more, don't we? It is so hard to just take a deep breath and be present in the moment.

I try. I remind myself to turn my phone off. I leave dishes on the table so I can play with my boys after dinner. I want to enjoy the moments as they come, instead of worrying or wishing for time to speed up so I can have what I think I want. And most of the time I am somewhat successful. I really do enjoy the little moments marching their way through my life. But sometimes I still feel unsettled.

So lately I have not been as happy as I should be. I have a job that allows me to work and still be the mom I want to be. (As a side note, kudos to Julia from my favorite TV show Parenthood for walking away from something she thought she always wanted, a partnership in her law firm, to be the mom she knows her two kids, one recently adopted, needs.) My husband has a contract position while he job hunts, so he is working also. Our boys are healthy and happy. We are settling in as a family and getting through the attachment and behavior challenges. While our house may not be perfect it is a warm and inviting home. We belong to a great church and can afford to pay for a private christian education for my oldest son. Even when we have everything we need sometimes we want more, don't we? Well here is where my advanced 42 years have helped me.

I have learned to listen to these unsettled whispers. I have learned to make small changes that have big impact. This time, when those feelings started to creep back in, I quieted my heart and listened.  And I made a few small changes that have had a dramatic impact on my life. The first thing I did was remind myself to return to the basics. I had settled into a morning routine of dropping off the boys at school and then heading home to work. Nowhere in my morning could I be found. And more importantly, nowhere in my morning could God be found. Assuring that I take the time every day for prayer and reflection assures that I start my day the way God intended. First moments for God, right? Those moments when the house is quiet and all three of my boys are sleeping- that's my favorite time of day and my best time for reflection. And if I just can't drag myself out of bed on time then I take my moments with God after dropping off the boys. Either way, before I hit my desk in the morning I hit my knees, so to speak. And after I do, I always wonder why I let myself drop this very important habit.

So small change number one- very important. Potentially life changing. Small change number two, not so much. But it made me feel great all the same. Are you ready? Here's the secret. I put a few of my lights on timers and replaced a few old fashioned candles with battery operated ones, also with timers. When I walk downstairs in the morning to pray and make breakfast for my boys, I am greeted by the old accent lamp on the side table in the hallway by the kitchen. This lamp turns on with a switch on the cord, and because of the placement of the table and the cord I rarely turned it on. I would have to pull the table a few inches from the wall, pull up the cord and flip the switch. Then repeat it all to turn it off. Now it is on a timer and twice a day it magically turns itself on. I am greeted by it's warm glow when I come down the stairs every morning. Later, as we are all returning home from our busy days out in the harsh world, it greets us again. When my husband walks in the door in the evening, usually after the rest of us get home, he walks into a softly lit entryway.

If you haven't seen a battery powered candle lately check them out again. They are amazing! They look and smell like the real thing, even casting a moving shadow. They come with a built in timer as well, so they turn themselves on every evening. Now our mantle is glowing every evening, and my kitchen counter is cozier. When the boys head upstairs to bed a pillar candle lights their hallway. I have at least six of these flame less candles throughout my home. Both my husband and I love candles and used to burn them all the time. But with the boys, and their strong desire to blow them out, and their toys flying through the air at times, it just isn't as safe as it used to be. I will still light a candle at dinner or after the boys go to bed, but we were missing the warmth and peace a glowing candle provides. let's face it- it's hard to yell at your kids with the lights down and a candle burning.

My restlessness has passed. I am back on track and feeling centered and full of grace. I start my day with the light of God and assure that my family ends their day with peace and warmth. Kind of like decorating from the inside out. From working on my heart to working on my home, I am doing things to make me a calmer person, a happier mother, and a willing home maker.

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