Remembering what makes us feel alive.
There are times when we go through slumps of life. We get caught up in the mundane--the day in, the day out. The daily grind that eats away our time and energy. Survival mode--just get through it all once again.
As a working mom I find myself going through the same routine every day. I wake at the same time, my girls do the same things in the same order each morning. I teach the same lessons for a month at a time. I hurry home to take care of the weekly afternoon schedule. I fit in the laundry, I watch the same shows, I visit the same websites.
And then I go to bed to do the same thing again the next day.
And the artist in me starves away.
I've watched my husband come alive at his work. I've seen him become the person he was meant to be in the job he was meant to do. This camp is in his spirit and on his heart and he literally looks forward to each day.
I've seen my cousin put knife to wood or pencil to paper and a world appears when she's done. She makes something incredible out of simple materials and makes it look so effortless. And she sings, too. And plays instruments.
I could probably hate her if she wasn't so dang likeable.
Smooches, crutie pie Rosiebud.
My parents were career teachers who were THE teachers at their respective schools. They were leaders, they were often requested, and their students scored well. They made teaching look so easy and I learned so much by watching them that it seemed only natural that I followed in their footsteps.
And I've been very blessed by the jobs I've had and by the students I've encountered.
But, even when I'm busy cultivating creativity in my classroom, I sometimes feel like along the way I've lost my voice. I've somehow lost the sparkle in my life, and I've forgotten what makes me come alive. I've gotten extremely comfortable in my routine, and have lost myself a little.
Or maybe in my old age I'm rediscovering who I really am.
This past week we were incredibly blessed and able to take a family vacation to the mountains of Tennessee. My husband had a camp conference and the girls and I took the week off from school to join him. The conference was held at an indoor water park and we were able to spend our days lounging by the pool while the world outside us turned into a winter wonderland with a surprise snow day. I watched my girls play and laugh and delight in the water. I listened to their stories and jokes. I slid down the slides with them, I watched them splash around, and they were good helpers with Baby O. We lounged around in pajamas and ate Oreos and watched movies. And we took naps.
It was a beautiful time.
My friend and sweet neighbor, Caroline, had agreed to get our mail and had sent me a text midweek with a photo of the snow at our house. We chatted back and forth about the good things that were happening in Tennessee and how wonderful the week had been for our family. I also commented that the vacation had occurred over several snow days in our hometown, so I had not used my hard-earned personal leave days. Caroline replied,
"Favor from The Lord, my friend. He LOVES you!!!"
And it's true--like Ann Voskamp reminds us to count our gifts, the Lord sprinkled so many blessing on our family this past week. I spent the week thanking God for the opportunities to be with my kids. I admired the splendor of the snow covered mountains. I took great joy in watching the snow coat the ground quickly--beautiful, fluffy, powdery snow. I read articles by authors who make words leap off the page. We sang songs in worship this morning that moved my soul to stillness. I spoke to people I admire and love. I laughed loudly. I savored my coffee in my favorite mug and inhaled the quiet moment when I take those first sips--before anyone else was moving in the house. I enjoyed time with my husband. I even got to go to Ikea. I bought a sewing machine with some saved Christmas money and taught myself how to use it.
This week I've spent some time thinking about the things that make me come alive. The things that make my heart pitter patter. These things are gifts from the Lord--not just because they are blessings, but they are clues about who we are and who He's created us to be.
I'm taking notes about these things that make my heart shout loudly. I want to be purposeful about my life and not just spend my days spinning wheels and marking time. It's time to rid myself of the things that are eating away at my joy. I want to live my life with days well-spent and become the person I am called to be.
It's time to reclaim my life.