They say practice what you preach.
Do it. Just do it.
I know this week I am far from that goal. My intentions of writing here regularly have already been swamped by extra work and family demands. My commitment to writing and doing something I love seems to wane under external pressures. I am not fighting for the right to have me time and pursue something that I know is good for me.
Yet here I am in an awkward before school moment writing. I have been up since five this morning to assist Miss 15 get ready for a school excursion. My brain is on, I feel wired.
But here is the thing – there are competing ideas swirling in my brain and I feel like a kid running around with a net chasing butterflies that continue to escape. Each idea is elusive, close but not really in my grasp.
I am reminded of Dr Adam Fraser’s The Third Space. I have introduced this to my year 12 students and encouraged them to apply the idea. In fact I am sure I have blogged about this before.
Now it is time for me to find that third space.
This afternoon was blocked out as a working window to write. No, not lovely blog posts but the more serious, academic stuff that I have engaged with called the PhD. But things have happened and my day has not quite evolved as planned.
I have however, had a tyre fixed and refitted. I have explored the possibility of upgrading from a Queen size bed to a King. Any advice? I have done several loads of washing and read 4 academic papers. Then there were bills that I paid, emails that I responded to and a book I read speedily over lunch. So I have been productive but have not aligned all of my energy into the very thing that I must do today. And it is almost school pick up time. Hmmm.
I am getting close to 1000 blog posts on this humble little blog space. It started out as a family journal of life with small people, feeding them and nurturing them. Since 6mouthsfeed we have become 7mouths2feed and now, as the big 1-0-0-0 approaches I have been considering stepping away from this story. It has been a grand jaunt, through the grim days of motherhood and babies, school days and making memories with my kids. Blogging has kept me writing and reading when everything else felt too hard.
Nowadays there is so much to read and consume I am a little overwhelmed at times by it all. But for me, blogging has helped me make sense of it all. I don’t pretend to be an expert. I just do better when I am part of a team. Thank you for adding to the discussion, sharing a post or trying a recipe. If you have been following a long for a time you will have no doubt tried to bake bread with me, made a never fail chocolate cake, experimented with the no sugar way and perhaps dabbled in some good reading. We have shared faith stories, debated the latest parenting approach or enjoyed a new movie or tune. This blog is many things.
So what should I do? Make 1000 posts, celebrate and slip away into cyber land? Is it time for a new more grown up blog. A makeover perhaps? Some Q and A. Help me polish this story, 7mouthsfeed and find my next Big thing.
Yours, S x
Where did this idea of a bucket list come from? I don’t recall it being a feature of my youth. Possibly it is a ‘thing’ for older people who feel the speed of time and age catapulting them into an vortex of regret and no return. I confess the notion of a bucket list has always sat uneasily with me – No…I don’t want to go parachuting or climb Everest, or kiss on the top of the Empire State Building or learn Japanese or run a marathon. Not really. So why the big hurrah with the bucket list?
I think it is a sign of discontentment. (If you want to think more about this idea there is a good series here.) It is a symptom of this world not being good enough, this lifestyle or season we find our self in not meeting our expectations, so we have something bigger and better to look forward to. A holiday, an experience, a new skill learned. But the reality is none of this dreamer activity will save you or me. I suspect it makes our desire for more stuff, more people, more experience insatiable. Our bucket will be never be full in our own strength.
The bucket list points to humankind’s inability to be the source of our own contentment. Sure a few activities and fun people make life really amazing. But there will always be that nagging feeling of life not being enough, without something bigger, something divine. It is a God thing.
John Dewey(1916) wrote that “we grow as we choose the projects by which we create our identities.”
What projects do you consider when there is an interruption to the ordinary flow of things? When the normal routine habits are disabled? When you confront novelty, new ideas or something unexpected?
I am interested in this idea that we are active agents, choosing the projects that characterise and define our life, shape and determine our identities.
We are all in the process of being, becoming the person that we identified as ‘me’. The woman, man, parent, teacher, writer, builder, lover, fighter, preacher and more. The narrative of our life is in constant edit, the framework is there, the main ideas are evolving and connections are being made. We are continually making space to understand who we are in relation to who other people are. Knowing helps us to become. Choosing the projects shape our identity.
Today I would love go out alone and grab a quiet coffee, with my journal, diary and my own thoughts. But I have a couple of sick little people who have moved from bed to couch to bathroom and back again. So even though I want to take time out for a coffee I am confined to home because that is where I am needed. My role is to love my family, serve them when they are sick, soothe a brow, wipe a face and hold them close. And in those moments new thoughts come – what a gift it is to be able to love my family. Each day a promise of learning something new. Take hold of all that your day throws at you. Lest we forget what is important in this life.
Everything could change in a moment. We need to prepare ourselves for good days and bad. Our kids hear a lot about grit and resilience and perseverance. But what about courage? Today I need courage to: keep on parenting when times are tough, to apologise when I do wrong, to be honest and tell someone when I think they are making a bad life choice, to live out the Gospel when the world despises it and to be authentic. What do you need courage for today?
So this year is full of surprises! One of things I did not expect to happen the year my youngest starts her four days of Early Learning is that I would be a stay at home mum. I now have more child free time between the hours of 9am -3pm. I can start and complete most tasks without interruption if I so choose. I can call a friend, read, grab a coffee, take a walk, visit the day spa, dream or create my own adventure. But three weeks into this new life I really cannot say I have been able to do any of these things well. I rush about doing all of the everyday home things, just like you. I do some of the house stuff better and with a thorough hand. I have de-cluttered and sorted several big areas that have been on my imaginary to do list for a decade. I have occasionally sat, stared at the wall and wondered what I am doing with my life. But….. I am living it. I am married to an amazing man, I have five kids who I am trying to love, nurture and grow in faith and I have a home. A family. A life.
Doing the home thing depends as much upon me being there as it does my man or my kids. Together we are seven and there are days when it is such hard work. Not just the physical monotony, the groundhog day-esque nature of daily tasks. But it is the emotional support, counsel and wisdom that each of us requires. It is balancing everyone’s issues, needs and demands and knowing how best to serve them. While simultaneously taking care of – me! Yep, me. I am not that good at that part. Are you? So the big surprise this year is not that I am at home or that I am not back working full time. But that the home thing might just be the thing that forces me to take care of myself. I can see I need to slow down, to rest more, to eat well, to sleep, to reflect and meditate. To be mindful and thankful. And all of these things take time. Are you doing the home thing?
The first week of term has been less than perfect. Sickness -5 out of 7. Disruption to routines, extra work demands. And yet as much as I craved time and space for me with all the little people back at school it didn’t really surprise me to have the week not go as planned. What is a plan anyway? And nothing – your week, relationship, work, holiday, health – is ever perfect, right? We fail. Sin is real. So why don’t we give up now and abandon future hope?
In my life—and I think it is the intended biblical pattern—hope is like a reservoir of emotional strength.
- If I am put down, I look to the emotional reservoir of hope for the strength to return good for evil. Without hope I have no power to absorb the wrong and walk in love, and I sink into self-pity or self-justification.
- If I experience a setback in my planning—I get sick, or things don’t go the way I’d hoped in the board meeting, for example—I look to the emotional reservoir of hope for the strength to keep going and not give up.
- If I face a temptation to be dishonest, to steal, to lie, or to lust, I look to the emotional reservoir of hope for the strength to hold fast to the way of righteousness, and deny myself some brief, unsatisfying pleasure.
That is the way it works for me. That is the way I fight for holiness in the Christian life.
It really has been a weekend of rain, grey skies and coughs and colds in our home. We have had to make the sunshine – cooking chicken pie, lighting the open fire, reading the paper, sharing a drink with friends. Simple things. A slow pace. This is life.
It is always difficult to change. To remove something from your home, your life or your history that you are actually quite fond of but that has become a bit of a burden. To de-clutter, to downsize, to cut back.
The Edit Project is one very busy girl’s adventure into the world of editing. Not your average read, write and edit project. But a weekly blogpost of how I embrace this task of editing and pruning parts of my life.
So as I savour my morning coffee I am making a list and checking it twice, ready to edit. Stay tuned…..