Learning to Love the Laundry…

laundry picIt has been a while. There has been a lot that has happened in the last five months. So much so that I am not sure even where to start. We have seen God work in amazing ways. However, it doesn’t go without saying there have been trials;To the point that I have looked forward to the steady, regular chore of doing the laundry.

The adventure began in mid-June with Eric heading into a new job/career working with people who value his expertise and care about his entire well-being… in ARKANSAS. At the same time we were seriously considering selling our home in Texas. The job change just pushed us toward making that a reality. In the same turn we made a decision for the kids and I to stay in Texas. This would allow me time to prepare for finding a job in Arkansas in education and honor the direction EmBug is headed with her passion for the Theater and Vocal Arts and keep the course with the phenomenal programs offered in the district she currently attends school.

On top of all that another transition was us purchasing a home in Greenbrier, Arkansas where Eric will reside during the week near his job. Eric would then spend time in Texas on the weekends, and the kids and I have a “vacation home” to hang out on long weekends and holidays.

To further the changes Kritterman started Middle School and EmBug entered High School. It has been a roller coaster of changes. So when I say that I have learned to love the laundry, it is a strange, but true statement.

No matter the chaos, the laundry must be done. No matter what made the piles of dirty clothes, once they are clean they are ready to be worn again. I find myself folding the kids and my clothes from the past week and remembering the small moments when they were wearing a certain t-shirt and quipped some humorous comment, or how one certain item is in the laundry every week… and I smile, because I know in our upheaval, the kids have a piece of clothing that brings them consistency and comfort. Every time I do the laundry (usually over the weekend in about a 12 hour stint) I get a certain excitement in feeling like I am giving my whole family a chance start another week with a fresh start, just like Jesus gives us grace and a fresh start.

So, I am learning to love the laundry, my hope is that I am also giving this blog I write about our family life a fresh start. Our Razorback Ranch may have a few changes (the Razorback Ranchette in Texas and the New Razorback Ranch North in Arkansas) but the heart of our home is in our family and no matter where we are, we have the laundry I am learning to love for the consistency and continuity it represents. With that I am wanting to share our journey in simple uncomplicated ways and how God works… even in the tedium of laundry.

In Every Moment…

I will be honest. I don’t balance well. I am either all assistant principal, all mom, all wife, all friend… you get the idea. I am pretty sure if someone was to look at a scan of what dendrites were firing where in my brain, no one part of my brain would overlap. I am that compartmentalized in how I operate. Is it a fault or strength of focus… I don’t know.

When I am at work, it is all about work. That would be ok except my son attends the campus where I am an assistant principal. Sometimes that means that my mom life will intersect with my work life.

So this past week one of those intersections between mom and assistant principal occurred. We had our Spring Open house at school. I was helping in my role of assistant principal… all in my “work mode” compartment of my brain. Earlier I had arranged for my son to be picked up after school instead of “having” to stay through the Open House. He had declined the offer to go home early and, to my surprise, opted to stay. I had noticed, but didn’t think to ask him why. I quickly moved to the next thing I needed to do to be present for as an Assistant Principal. I attended the PTA meeting and then started serving pizza to families… my son was somewhere. I thought he was hanging out with some of the other teacher’s kids and was content.

In the midst of placing slices of pizzas on plates and handing to parents and students, I hear a urgent but quiet voice call, “Mom.”

I look beyond the family waiting for pizza in front of me and there stands my son. He says my name again, this time with a hint of sadness and pleading, “Mom.”

I respond, “What’s up buddy? Is everything ok?”

At that point his response is filled with exasperation and disappointment, “I wanted you to come see my work and show you my ePortfolio.”

Before I really think about my response, because my brain is still in the Assistant Principal compartment, I say, “I don’t know if I can, bud. I need to stay here.”

He is angry and before I can retract what just rolled out of my mouth… he is quickly exiting, but not before I can see the frustration and tears brimming in his eyes.

Suddenly the mom compartment of my brain kicks in and I turn to my counselor, serving with me. I tell her what I have suddenly realized. Kritterman had stayed because he wanted to show me his work. He wanted me to be his mom for a moment, not the assistant principal. He wanted us to be like every other son. I need to be Kritterman’s mom… just his mom.

I try to be what I need to be, whatever the role, in every moment. However, I realize I fall short most of the time.

This would be defeating if I didn’t know that I don’t have to be ALL in every moment.

gospel-of-john-1-prologue-1118-18-638Often we are told to “be the light.” I believe this is a misconstrued spiritual notion. Recently I have read and come to understand, Jesus “is the life, and that life is the light of all mankind.” (John 1: 4) I don’t have to “be” anything. I only need to seek him. He already seeks after me. He is the light. His light, when I seek him shines through me.

Unlike my son who sought me out and needed to remind me of what he needed, Jesus already knows our need. He does want us to ask and seek him, not because he doesn’t know, but because he wants to have a relationship with us. He loves us perfectly.

He is perfectly present in every moment with us. He wants to do life with us in every moment.

What I am coming to realize is that even though I compartmentalize my life, He is there in every moment. When I walk alongside Him and let His light shine through me in every part of my life, I am more in tune to loving others. I am able to be more of what others need, not by my own strength, but because of what He does in and through me.

It is a relief to now that I don’t have to “be the light”… He is enough, and He shines through me. When I fail to allow his light to shine through me, I fail in every moment. Thank goodness for His forgiveness and grace.

Later after the PTA evening was over and I was home, I sought out Kritterman. I apologized I hadn’t been the mom he needed in the moment when he called for me. He was quick to forgive, and tell me he loved me.

What a mighty Savior we have. When we call out to Him, He is already there… in every moment.

 

 

Where do you see yourself…

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” It is a question often asked of us whether it be over coffee, in a discussion with your spouse or in an interview. Five years ago I had a plan, but my plan isn’t where I saw myself… in fact it is much better than I imagined.

5-years-2017

Five years ago if you told me that I would run multiple races including several half marathons, a marathon and a participated in a sprint triathlon… I would have laughed at you. Five years ago if you told me that I would be teaching youth girls and LOVING it, I would have asked if you were sure you were talking to the right person. Five years ago if you had told me my husband would have a stroke and we would be stronger for the experience and our family would be happier than it has ever been before, I would have been overcome with fear. Five years ago if you had told me that it would take almost five years to realize the place I saw myself in five years… an assistant principal, I would have responded in anger and frustration, questioning why it would take so long.

But now I look back at the five years and am filled with gratitude both for the celebrations, accomplishments and the struggles. Gratitude for the friendship that was forged through the running with a dear friend that knew better than I did that I was capable and would run half marathons, a marathon and participate in a triathlon. I am filled with gratitude for the deep, authentic relationships I have formed with my youth girls that I have now been teaching and learning with for three years. I am beyond grateful that Eric’s stroke has not created huge limitations for him, but has provided a reset and restart on life for us all that has forged deeper bonds between us and our children and brought us closer as a family… and fear has not won! And crazy as it sounds, I am so profoundly filled with gratitude that  the time it took for me to take my next step in my career was when God’s timing was right for me to step into the role of assistant principal. It happened in perfect timing in a place that is a fit that is so perfect I often can’t believe it.

The better question might be: “What do you hope to learn about yourself and others in the next five years and how will you use that to impact the world around you?”

That is what I am trying to answer. I have deeply learned it is more than alright to have plans, but the plans I have are not always the best plans. I have learned that God’s plans are what is best for me. I don’t know what the next five years will hold for me… I have aspirations. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have aspirations, but this next five years is with less trying to “shoe-horn” my plans, and more relying on God. He has shown me to have my best interest at heart, and frankly He is due my trust and faith. He has proven to me, even when I have not been faithful to Him. So my next five years I will strive to trust Him more, live by the faith I proclaim and let Him speak through me in my actions to impact the world around me for HIS glory.

I am looking forward to the next five years… the trials and the celebrations. In every moment and opportunity He is leading me to where He feels I best fit into His design… and I love that is where I “see myself in the next” five years… and for an eternity.

plans-jeremiah

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