Monday, June 22, 2015

How Full is Your Glass?

Cecilia, age 5-1/2, is an awesome big sister!

So, June has been quite a month for me! In the past three weeks, I have started not one, but two, part-time jobs. They are VERY part-time, but I'm excited for the opportunities that they are affording me. Namely, a little bit of money (which is very helpful), a chance to be with other adults, and a break from the dinner-bedtime routine (no sitter needed as I'm only working when Daddy is home) a few times a week!

I worked at a "welcome summer" festival on Saturday night serving beer at a classy new brewery in town. I loved everything about it! (And, it helps that I happen to love beer!). As I had random conversations with my fellow server and the patrons (most of whom where in a great mood as they were enjoying a lovely afternoon out), I felt alive in a way that I haven't felt in years.

Of course, I've been very much alive the past almost nine years as a stay-at-home mother. I have countless priceless memories stored up in my heart, and I wouldn't trade any of it. Even the challenges have brought me much closer to God, emotionally stronger, more adaptable to situations, and grateful for all of my blessings.


There was something about being with strangers at a festival on a very humid (eventually stormy, thus suddenly ending the festival!) day in June that made me feel...happy (and younger...although I often reflect on how good it feels to be (almost!) 40). I remembered how I enjoyed waiting tables in past seasons of my life. Not because of the co-workers, mind you, but because of the customers. I enjoy making small talk with people. And, it is quite a nice feeling when those people thank you for your service and smile at you as they put a dollar or two in a tip jar (for pouring a drink, really? With six young children, I am really good at pouring drinks!). :)

The whole experience made me feel more...likable. Now, don't get me wrong. I KNOW that I am loved. The fact that God even thought of creating me is enough love to ponder for a lifetime. I am blessed to still hear my parents tell me that they love me every week, my spouse shows his love for me and our children daily (no words needed), and my children are at an age where the words, "I love you," roll easily off their little tongues. And then, there are friendships that are dear.

But, I have been in my kitchen for almost nine years. Besides the daily trips to preschool, the grocery store, and the playdates (which have been God sends, mind you!), I have wondered what it would feel like to return to the "other" world. Would I be good at anything? Would people still like me?

For four hours and 15 minutes on Saturday afternoon (before the storm closed up shop in an instant!), the answer was a refreshing, "yes"!

I am hoping and praying that the jobs will continue to work out for the employers, me, and our family.

Another positive side effect of the job happened the following morning. Because I had not seen my kids the previous evening, I was actually happy to get back to my routine. And, as the 4-year-old screamed for an hour (no lie) because his cereal had gotten too soggy (and meanie that I am, I insisted that he still eat his breakfast!) and the 3-year-old rejected that she owns, I really started to look forward to my next shift. ;)


So grateful for the man in the middle! The kids couldn't wait to give him his Father's Day gift!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Wanted: More Zeal!

Watch over with zeal and patience that portion of the Lord’s vineyard 
that has been entrusted to you!
--Pope Francis

My beautiful Cecilia in her spring dance recital! Gianna picked out a red rose for Cecilia ROSE!
Something happens to me every mid-April (well, since around 2009, that is). I start having panic attacks about summer. Instead of enjoying the beautiful spring weather (although I do appreciate that I can send my kids outside again!), I start to feel very anxious and tense knowing that summer vacation is right around the corner.

For the record, I do like spending time with my children. They are my greatest treasures and a great cause of my joy. But when I am responsible for taking care of every.single.need (including entertainment!) for six children for hours and days on end...even the thought of it makes me go a little batty! My rational brain knows that it'll be okay, but I fear that the transition might take my last bit of sanity.

I pray about it...a lot! And, I occasionally feel the fruits immediately. Other times, I wonder why in the world the Holy Spirit is letting me experience such ridiculous, overwhelming moments without rushing to my rescue!!! My 8-year-old daughter, Gianna, recently told me that she wished Mary would appear to her. I've been thinking that for would be so much easier to have a conversation with Mary (or Jesus) instead of trying to explain all my mixed feelings and emotions to the clouds! :)

Here's my "baby"...I just love that she's growing up!
So, here I am writing this on my third full day of summer vacation with the kids! I felt a strong urge to write today, so perhaps I'll write more to stay sane during these endless summer days!

I randomly found the quote above on Facebook today. Pope Francis just said it to some bishops yesterday...but it really resonated with me. My house is my "portion of the Lord's vineyard." What a great privilege and blessing that the Lord has entrusted it to me. I often feel like the vineyard is a complete disaster...messes everywhere, people being mean to one another, chaos, and disorder. But, I do not need to be discouraged.

Love her innocence, smile, and laughter! Lucy, age 3
Instead, I can pray for more patience and more zeal! While I'm at it, I'll ask for more energy, more affordable/kid friendly activities that I can bring all my children to, less fighting, more contentment and peace, less anxiety, and a greater appreciation of ALL seasons of this short life. Amen. 

Happy Summer :).

Look at what happened in my husband's new hanging flower pot! It's on our front porch and the kids have a front row seat to God's beautiful nature!