Sunday, August 29, 2010

Treasuring the Moment

Well-you all know I am frequently absent from the blogging world ;-). It's been quite a year for us. But isn't it always. Through all the chaos of the past year (homeschooling, husband traveling, husband having back surgery, volunteering with youth, you get the idea) there are so many days that I have felt like throwing in the towel. Then at a baby shower for a woman in our church, and through a great book on prayer we went through this summer in our study I have learned of a new idea to gain a new perspective on the trying days.

The idea is to simply make a journal of good things. Especially with our kids. As Christians we can even go a step further and see how God is using them and working in their life. The woman who first mentioned it said she got a journal and would write happy moments of her daughters life. She would try almost daily. The end result was that she was able to look at the good things and memories and not the day to day turmoil of life. Even if it was simple and small. It could be Suzie tied her shoes herself, or Johnny didn't complain about green peas, or Jane made me laugh so hard doing xyz, etc.

The prayer book idea was deeper, but a similar idea. It was to keep a prayer journal. Not necessarily everyday, but when you could. The end result being that through the trying times, you could look back and see the story that God was weaving, and how He had provided and cared for us through the process. And it's all one big story.

So as we are all beginning a new school year (mine REALLY kicks into full gear this week!) try to pause and jot down the good times, so when you hit the bad times, you have something to re-focus on!

Monday, August 23, 2010

17 Years and Counting!

Today (August 23rd) marks the 17th anniversary of when my husband and I met: August 23, 1993. We met at a dinner for the scholarship program for which we had both been selected the year before as high school seniors. We were freshmen; he was 18 and I was 17, and we were instant friends. We met, incidentally, jogging back up to campus from the professor's house at which the dinner had been held. Neither of us enjoys jogging. I thought a small history of our relationship, the significant memories/accomplishments/moments, and the big events would be worth recounting. Numbers relate to year of acquaintance; clearly the Lord was at work.

0. We were both selected as Maclellan Scholars at Covenant College. I was told by some friends that a friend of a friend of a friend from Greenville, SC, was going to be part of the program. This was my future husband, but I didn't know it at the time!
1. We met. We had lots of core classes together, the Maclellan Scholars class together, and mutual friends in common. He started dating another girl....
2. I don't remember much from this year. The first semester, I was working 15 hours/week in the admissions department, taking 18 hours of heavy classes, logging 10 hours/week for a youth ministry practicum,.... I also had a roommate who underwent some trials of her own which spilled over into my life. I think we worked the Madrigal Dinners together this year (he played trumpet and I was a "wench"). The second semester I left and went to the Czech Republic for a semester....
3. Friendship renewed. He'd broken up with his girlfriend, we continued to have the Maclellan Scholars class together, and he went to China for 6 months. I think we both were a part of the Madrigal Dinners this year, too.
4. He transferred to Clemson, and I moved off campus. We saw each other on weekends when he came to town. He was dating another girl, and I even put her up for one of the visits to town. Can you believe it?! :)
5. I continued to work at the college, and he continued at Clemson. I met his grandparents for the first time (they lived pretty close to campus). We started talking on the phone a lot since he was doing alternate semesters in Johnson City for a co-op (and was very lonely). One memorable event at the beginning of this year was a picnic we had by the river downtown; we hid an old key we found up under one of the bridges.
6. More of the same.... I believe at this point, I actually started making a trip or two to his neck of the woods.
7. I worked at the college one last year, and he finished up at Clemson. This year, I told him we were too close as friends. We needed to move one way or the other: were we going to date? were we going to be friends forever? I also refused to meet the latest girl he had gone on a date with.
8. He began master's work at Ga Tech, and I started a master's program at Hollins University in the summers. I also started teaching high school in a local Christian school. This is the year things started to pick up... He told me he had "something to tell me," came up mid-week, we went out, and he told me he loved me and wanted to marry me! We had never officially "dated." We got engaged that summer. Oh--we also got our dogs at Christmas of this school year; we weren't even engaged yet.
9. We spent the school year engaged. I had an elaborate countdown chain around my classroom, and my students really got into it. He sent me a GORGEOUS bouquet of roses to my classroom on Aug. 23rd that year. It happened to be parent's night, and all the moms were nudging their husbands and pointing them out. Very funny.
10. We got married, finally! Our mothers had been praying for this for YEARS. He was still at Ga Tech, so I got a teaching job in Atlanta. We bought our first house. At the end of this school year, he finished his master's. In between years 10 and 11, we went on a terrific road trip with his sister and her husband--we toured the National Parks out West.
11. PhD work had begun in earnest for dear hubby. I continued at the same school. I finished up my master's.
12. I took a new job at a school closer to our house. We joined Smyrna PCA that year and worked with the Pioneer Clubs on Wednesday nights together. Halfway through the year, we found out that I was pregnant with our first child!
13. Aside from getting married, this was our biggest, most eventful year to date: this is still on a school year calendar and all of this happened in the first "semester"--moved cities/states, hubby started as college professor, I had our first child, he defended his dissertation, he graduated with his PhD.... Oh, we also renovated an old house that year.
14. Couldn't cruise yet. At the beginning of this "school year," we found out I was pregnant again. Around Thanksgiving, we found out that it was twins... The boys were born in the spring and life spun out of control for a bit. We celebrated our 5th anniversary at the end of this year.
15. A blurry year full of baby and child care, long work hours for hubby, and so forth.
16. New job for hubby, daughter is potty trained, boys are beginning to be potty trained... light at the end of the tunnel. This was a hard year with long hours for hubby (and long hours for me!).
17. We are starting to really enjoy our kids, finally. Everyone is potty trained, no more sippy cups haunt the kitchen counters, everyone can communicate in English, we can even go hiking and play games! We got a grand piano this year and hubby has entertained us all in the evenings. It's like having a soundtrack to life.
18. We don't know what this year will hold, other than the fact that I start school this year. We just can't stand not to have someone in the academic calendar :). But it's wonderful to look back on such a long history together. We've logged a lot of hours together, we've been through some rough times, we've weathered some serious stress together, we've stood with each other through several close family deaths, we've gotten to know each other's siblings even better, we're getting to know our nephews,....

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Here We Go!

School is beginning in earnest for both Carrie's family and my own. We've been doing a K4 type curriculum for my daughter--started it in July since it's SO HOT and then we can take a break come October and enjoy the weather/outdoors more. Carrie just began homeschooling her family this week. I start school next week--I'll be doing an online library science program through the university in town.

What does all this mean for our everyday lives? Routine, routine, routine.

For my family, this means we'll go back to my each-day-of-the-week-plan in which each day has a different major chore allocated to it. This has served me well during the past couple of years. I've changed days around as needed, but here is how this year is shaping up:

Monday: Laundry; Tidy up from weekend; empty trash; last minute homework...
Tuesday: errands
Wednesday: homework--my classes are Tuesday night, so I'd better plan on getting going on Wed just in case something comes up during the week!
Thursday: Bible study and office odds and ends in the afternoon (correspondence, business/banking, etc.)
Friday: Library story time and clean-the-house day; wash linens/towels
Saturday: Home improvement day and/or family fun day! Work ahead for Sunday (extra food prep and so forth)

More important than this is my renewed desire to complete each task when it's begun. How many times have you started cleaning up the kitchen and run out of steam before you get to the crockpot? It's still sitting there in the morning, isn't it? Or, what about wiping off the table after lunch? Putting up the clean laundry? Dealing with the (junk) mail right away? Vacuumed, but left the mopping for another day? Put up ALMOST all the toys....

Last year, on "Earth Day," my husband brought home a little magnet from his work that was supposed to inspire us to care for the earth. In reality, it's helped me deal with household needs in a more timely fashion. Here it is:

If not now, when? If not me, who?