It's the week between Christmas and the new year. I am on my couch surveying the post-Christmas chaos. I have one kid setting up a lego set, another kid playing with dolls and yet another child that I had to just have a discussion with on thankfulness. So often parenting hits me right where I need to be hit. Giving the "you shouldn't be complaining about what you didn't get and go play with and enjoy what you did get" speech is probably a good thing for all of us. It's easy to look around at what's hard or what's hectic. Instead this season though, I have been challenging myself to choose joy. Choose joy in the chaos or struggles, and trust me we have had them. I literally had a break down and cry moment two weeks ago when it was one thing too many with a sick baby, a car that needed repair and an endless to do list.
There are things over the past couple weeks that have challenged my perspective. Last Monday I went to the viewing for a friend's mother who was laid to rest far too young from a degenerative disease. One friend just delivered a 34 week baby boy after a very challenging journey to get pregnant and we are all praying for him to come home quickly. Another friend is walking through yet another miscarriage after having been given hope for a healthy pregnancy. It seems unfair. I have a snuggly, chubby baby boy chatting to his animals in his crib right now. It's a gut check. Something about this time of year makes the loss more acute and the joy more sweet.
Over the last year I have come to really enjoy and be challenged by the writing of Shauna Niequist. I have deeply been challenged by her thoughts on hospitality and life around the table (more on that another time). I have been enjoying her daily devotional thoughts in her book Savor. On Christmas day I was stopped in my tracks because she perfectly penned what I had been feeling. She writes, "My prayer is that we'll find ourselves drawn closer and closer to the heart of the story, the beautiful, beating heart of it all, that the chaos around us and within us will recede, and the most important things will be clear and lovely at every turn. I pray that we will understand the transforming power that lies in saying no, because it's an act of faith, a tangible demonstration of the belief that you are so much more than what you do. I pray that we'll live with intention, hope, and love in this wild season and in every season, and that the God who loves us will bring new life to our worn-out hearts this year and every year, that we'll live, truly and deeply, in the present, instead of waiting, waiting, waiting for the perfect."
So as I take stock in 2015 and look forward to 2016, I will be continuing to try to be "present, not perfect" and daily sift through what matters to focus on. I have a huge list of things I wish I had been able to get to more of, like blogging more of my photography work or reading more books but sometimes those things just don't fall to the forefront of what matters that day. I know there are seasons of life and in this one with many little people in my house, one day at a time is my best way to operate. Much love to you all in the new year!
(In case you missed our one family photo from Christmas that was on the iPhone because I reapplied half way to Grandma's house that my "real" camera was still on the kitchen table and we weren't turning back. Two kids are still in PJs, Ben looks thrilled, and who knows what Maxwell was doing...Just gotta' roll with it sometimes...)