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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What a Privilege!

I am so ready to marry Mr. Wonderful this Saturday - what a privilege it is to be his wife.  I'm giddy with excitement at the friends and family who will all be gathered to celebrate with us.  Seeing all the details that I've planned come together will be rewarding.  The romantic in me is having a blast.  But honestly, I can't wait till Sunday.  I so look forward to waking up with my man and all the activity and people being a sweet memory.  I do love a grand event, but I'm so happy to get to do normal life together. 

Something else struck me this week...I know as sure as the sky is blue that I don't deserve Mr. Wonderful and was surprised to hear him say those words to me.  I understood then how sweetly the Lord has put us together.  In the best way, we both feel we are the Lucky One and look forward to  proving it to each other for the rest of our days.  It was very affirming that as much as I love and even need him, he really does need me, too. 

I trust him in a way I haven't trusted before.  I do not feel defensive or inferior, I know Mr. Wonderful is looking out for my best.  I'm so confident in his decisions, his understanding and his leadership.  Mmmm, after the wedding, do I become Mrs. Wonderful?  I hope he sees it that way!

Signing off for now, thank you for all the well-wishes!

Friday, July 12, 2013

On Saying Yes and No

As the only responsible grown-up in our home, it has been evident on many occasions that I am limited.  My resources are limited.  My time, attention, finances, stamina, even mental energy are not inexhaustible.  Sadly, I do not have super-hero powers.  For a long time, I tried to hide my limitations.  I said, "Yes," to things that I really didn't want to do or couldn't afford just to please others.  I agreed to things in order to avoid confrontation.  I overextended myself to look good in the eyes of others. 

By doing all these things, I was crushing the spirit of who I really am.  I used my resources on things that weren't really that important to me.  As life became more complicated and the people who depend on me more numerous (ahem, three babies in less than four years!), I had a hands-on course in shedding that which isn't essential and in prioritizing.   I love the freedom that acknowledging my limitations has brought me!

Every time I say yes to something, I am saying no to something else.  If I say, "Yes, we'll go out to eat tonight."  I know that means I'm stretching our pantry supply for an extra couple of days.  When I say yes to ice cream at 11 pm, I recognize that I'm saying no to feeling sleek and svelte in the morning.  Okay, so I never really feel sleek and svelte, but you get the idea. 

I've been amazed at how universal this principle is.  Every choice has positive and negative ramifications.  Every choice.  How serious is that!  Now, not every choice has consequences that truly matter, but many do.  When I say yes, to that splurge on new shoes, I have to remember I'm saying no to something else. 

I was discussing this concept with Mr. Wonderful recently and I emphatically said, "Yes!" to him.  He laughed and asked what I was saying no to with that?  "To everyone else," was my reply.  It was a lighthearted and quick response, but it was true.  When we say yes, even to the joyous things, we must also so say no.  We limit ourselves in order to experience deeper relationships, security, history - there are so many rewards to limitations!

When I bought my house, I said no to every other house on the market.  When I cut my hair for a trendy new style, I said no to pony tails.  When I make healthy choices, I'm saying no to indulgences like brownies and vanilla Coke.  It's easier to limit myself in some areas than others. 

I'm surprised at how considering this concept has helped give my life direction and to clarify my priorities.  When considering a purchase, a schedule commitment or even a menu item, I am learning to distinguish how my yes will also be a no.  I'm even trying to communicate this to my children...and they get it on their levels.

Do you recognize the intrinsic limitations of your human self?  Do you try to do it all?  How are communicating your priorities and values to those around you and refining them for yourself?  Is it hard for you to come to a point where you stop looking at your options?

Others are talking about this, too!

Choosing the Best Without Having it All

When You Say I Do, You Also Say I Don't


Friday, July 5, 2013

Five Years

FIVE Art Print
Five years ago I was experiencing my first summer as a single mother.  I was so unsure of what the future held.  I was insecure emotionally and financially.  I remember struggling to accept the reality of my life, longing so much for it to return to the (false) reality I thought it was before.  I had trouble sleeping, eating and often paced or had to step outside for deep breaths to alleviate the anxiety I felt.  I distinctly remember feeling like I was drowning.

Five years ago, I had an infant, a two year old and a six year old.  We somehow managed to have a fun summer with lots of trips to the mountains, many evenings with grandparents and a hodge-podge of volunteer babysitters as I began working full-time.  It was a summer of so many changes and transitions.  Really, it was a season where my life turned onto a path different from the one I had mapped for myself and strategically planned. 

I could have never guessed that the road would lead met to THIS summer.

Five years ago I could not have guessed or imagined the kind of love I experience now.  I hadn't felt the acceptance and friendship.  I didn't know how deeply my family loved and supported me.  I was afraid that God would write me off as unworthy.  At the time, I didn't even know some of the people who are now the most important to me.

I have met and will marry my best friend.  I feel so connected to Mr. Wonderful that I feel like we have known each other for decades.  I have been so pleasantly surprised to realize my heart is capable of hope, trust and love.  I discovered I am able to embrace the children of another person with similar feelings of responsibility and investment as my own biological ones inspire.

Five years later I am settled into my role as a single mother and (mostly) confident about the responsibility that role brings.  My parents have relocated and I no longer attend the dear church where so many helped me in the early days.  We have registered to attend a new-to-us school this fall and will live in a home in which we have been guests.

I am a very different person today than the one I was five years ago.  I am less rigid and more fluid.  I think there is less tendency to control and more ability to let those closest to me discover themselves.  I am more realistic, tend to be a bit cynical and yet I'm capable of hoping.  I no longer feel the need to know every answer before taking a fact, I'm much more willing to take risks and try things!  I'm not afraid if things don't turn out perfectly.

Please know that if your summer is a difficult one, you have no idea how things will be five years from now.  You will be stronger, more experienced, more sure of yourself and your strengths.  Set some goals and hold them loosely.  But keep striving and moving forward.  Life, even with the many challenges, is so sweet!