Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Have coffee with me?

I'm drinking my coffee this morning and feeling chatty.  Will you sit and talk with me for a bit?

Baby V was dedicated on Sunday.  She's almost 4 months old, and so cute!  She's going bald (sigh) but her smiles and laughter still make her beautiful.  Anyway, our pastor prayed the most wonderful prayer for her during her dedication.  He prayed that her life would always be full of God's truth and grace.  He prayed that she would always have good examples to follow in her older siblings' lives.   He prayed for Steve and I to have the wisdom and endurance to raise up the children for God.  He prayed that God would provide for our needs:  physical, spiritual, and financial.

As he said at the start of Baby V's dedication, this is a familiar path to us.  She is our eighth.  We've dedicated 8 before, and we've walked the new baby path 8 times.  But that was the most special dedication prayer we've ever had.  I hope I don't ever forget that moment.    I hope that each of those prayers is answered by God -- especially the part about each of her older siblings being Godly examples to her.  "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."  3 John 1:4 I pray they all walk in the truth.

Of course, when this same pastor dedicated 2 yo G, he prayed a prayer that acknowledged that G was named after his grandfather, who had died just a few weeks after G's birth.    It was a blessing to us that he recognized the confusing time of rejoicing, mixed with grief, that we were living.  That was also a prayer that touched us.  Okay, it made us both cry.  LOL!!

Take a sip of coffee ... clear throat ... change gears.

Yesterday, our family hosted the homeschool group here.  We had 3 other families join us, and it doubled the number of students.  We had six extra students (and one baby) to add to my 6 students (and two babies).  LOL!!  It was a fun day of exploring, learning, and fellowshipping together.

Last week, we made the boys clean their room in preparation for the homeschool group coming.  We make them clean their room for other reasons, too, but they were a little more motivated this time.  Okay ... not really.  Their 13 yo sister R was motivated enough to go in and HELP the boys clean their room.  And not just their room, but also their closet.  She organized their toys, helped them sort some out to carry to the basement, and made sure that they even cleaned under their beds.  Without her help, it would not have ended up so very clean.  And without her help, they would have dragged the work out for 4 days instead of 2 days.

I brought the box of Thomas the Tank Engine train pieces out to the living room, instead of living under 9 yo J's bed.  J doesn't play with them anymore and gets upset that 2 yo G keeps dragging them out and making messes in the boys' bedroom.  So Thomas moved to the living room, and that will help the boys' room stay cleaner.

But with the boys' room so clean, we were able to pull out the trundle bed from under 6 yo M's bed,  and show it to 2 yo G.  It's his big boy bed, though he is perfectly content to keep sleeping in his toddler bed in my room.  To be honest, he'd love to just sleep in our king size bed, but we don't like sharing with him if we can help it.

2 yo G liked his bed immediately.  He declared it "MINE!"  He found it fun to climb on and jump on.  When we mentioned sleeping in it, he declared the toddler bed to be "MINE" instead.   However, he fell asleep during family movie night and was carried off to the new big bed.  He's slept in it every night since Friday night, but never fell asleep in it until last night.  He was getting sleepy and his big sister took him to his new bed and laid down with him until he fell asleep.  He slept all night last night and is still in his new trundle bed as I type  (though he did wake up one of the past nights and come climb in bed with us in the wee hours of the morning).

I hadn't intended to make this transition just yet.  But I knew I needed to act while the boys' floor was CLEAR.  Now the boys know they have to keep that space between  the twin beds clear so that the trundle can be pulled out each night.   And I'll have to enforce an evening pick-up in their room so it can be pulled out.  No more just ignoring the state of their room and making them pseudo-clean about once a week.  Do your kids pseudo-clean, too?

Another sip of coffee ... another direction change ...

I've been re-evaluating things lately.  I'm sure it has to do with the new year.  I'm feeling a need to connect with local women more.  I've never taken the time to do that.  I had an internet social network of other homeschool moms to support me.  I attended the ladies Bible study once a month, and chatted with other ladies from church on Sundays.  And that was really good enough.   I didn't try to arrange anything else, or really reach out to anyone else.  Occasionally, I'd get invited to a Pampered Chef party or something like that, and it provided another fellowship opportunity.

But over the past few months I've been finding myself wanting to fellowship more, and connect more with the local ladies I know.  It started out as a suggestion that the homeschool Moms get together for a planning meeting sometime.   We ended up not needing one, but we decided to have tea together anyway.  It was such a fun 90 minutes of fellowship at the Tea House, that I've wanted to do it again.  I found myself wishing for another fellowship time.  I tried to arrange one last week, spur of the moment.  Only one other mom came to the coffee shop, but it was still such a nice time of encouraging conversation.

I suddenly have a little mental list of other ladies I'd like to go get a soda with, or a coffee, or meet at the tea shop.  I don't have an endless budget for this, so it will have to be spread out over time, but I do want to make more effort to connect.  But then that reminded me that I needed to make more effort to connect with my HUSBAND as well.  He and I should go out sometime for breakfast, or even just coffee.  He has such a long commute, that our weekdays are too busy to really talk.  And our weekends are usually full of chores or family activities.  We need to date!

And then that reminded me of the need to connect with my children, and to make time to talk with each one.  Some of my daughters seek me out to talk, but the others don't. I need to seek them out.

I realized that I'm feeling a resolve to build relationships:   with my husband, my children, and other Christian women in my community.   It's a good thing, and an important thing.  But it's new.

I admit my focus was just on my own family for so long that I'm surprised.  In my early 20s I longed for a close friend and was so sad when God didn't provide one.  I turned my focus to my family and just worked at being content.   Over the past five years, I've begun to see how other Christian women have made time for friendships and was jealous of their close relationships, and the support they offered each other.  I considered them to be incredibly blessed.  But despite me coveting a friendship like that, I just continued to do without and didn't make an effort to create a friendship.  I assumed that if God intended me to have a friendship like that, he'd send someone along eventually.

Yet, friendships take work.  They don't just happen, do they?  Silly me.  So I'm going to cultivate the relationships I already have.  Even if I don't find a "bosom buddy" (to quote Anne of Green Gables) I will still be developing friendships and relationships.  I think for a season, God wanted me to turn my focus inward, to my own family.  He wanted me to be content.  And now ten years later,  it seems He's drawing my focus back out, and stirring up the longing for relationships within me.

I'm babbling.  Too much coffee?

2 yo G is awake and snuggling with me now.  I should wake up his siblings.  I had a few other things pop to my mind that I was going to talk about, but I also hear Baby V beginning to fuss in the bedroom.   I guess I need to go get her and begin my day.

It's your turn to talk.   Do you make time to build relationships with others in your community, and your home?  Or are you in a season of learning to be content with focusing on your family?  Has God called you into a new season before?

Have you reached any new milestones in your own family, like moving a toddler into his own room and a larger bed?

I need to be more chatty more often.  Sometimes I get so focused on the business-side of blogging (review due dates) that I forget the personal side ... the reason I began to blog in the first place.  I do the same thing in my home at times.  I need to change that.
Thanks for listening to my LONG chatty talk.  I hope you'll take time to chat back at me in the comments, and I hope we can "have coffee" again sometime.

April E.

4 comments:

  1. I enjoyed chatting with you April. I literally did drink coffee while reading. I too go through periods of wanting closer "irl" friends. I have some at church but it is hard to find time. I think there are definitely seasons that the Lord brings us through in this area.

    V's dedication sounds like a wonderful blessing. The prayer of your pastor was definitely special.

    And yes, my kids pseudo-clean too. But yesterday I had a huge shock. I opened my girls' toy closet, expecting to see the usual mess. Instead I was greeted with a clean floor and organized shelves. My older daughter had organized it without my asking! That had certainly never happened before. I heaped on the praise for that.

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  2. I love these chatting blog posts, they are so much fun to read.

    I have teenagers, so I'm not dealing with the toddler issue, but we do have our kids clean their room every night. Once in a while we have to do a big cleaning, but they clean up very well. My husband started this with the kids when they were young. He came from a big family and they always cleaned up after themselves when he was younger. So when I would say something like, "Oh, they are young, do you think they can clean like that?" He would just smile at me, teach the kids how to do it, and make sure it got done. Now, years later, I am so completely blessed he did that. :)

    I'm kind of where you are with IRL friends. I do have quite a few, but getting together with them isn't always that easy. Everyone seems so busy lately, they never have time. But I do get together with some friends, so that's nice.

    The prayer at the dedication sounds so nice. What a blessing you have a pastor like that.

    Thanks for the chat, I needed it this morning. :)

    JoAnn

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  3. April, I was making coffee while reading your blog...it's still brewing!
    Just wanted to share that I too have times to close in, gather the wagons and focus on family.
    But right now, the Lord is speaking to me loudly, "what relationships are you building with non Christian?"

    Trying to be salt and light,
    Gail

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  4. Hi April,
    I loved hanging out with you! , although I don't drink coffee!
    So many thoughts, so many ideas....

    I think you're right that friendship is a stage of life thing. When we've got one stage figured out, the next one begins, with its own lessons. I have online friends as well as irl friends, but everyone is different, and everyone is busy. Me, too. So it takes time, something we don't always have.

    I try to combine friend time with family time, nature time, or exercise time. That gives a focus to the time together and it also gets other things done.

    And I try to keep up with our parents more often...by phone since they are so far away. To me that is even more important. And I've got to connect with our siblings, too (all 10, plus spouses) who also live very far away.

    Good thoughts, April!

    Blessings,

    Annie Kate

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