I recently read something I wrote about a year ago…it was about flying by the seat of my pants.  I had to laugh because NOTHING has changed in a year.  Pant-flying is still my major mode of movement.

Oh, I try to plan.  I’m a planner at heart.  Really want to be organized, get things done, check things off that list.  It just doesn’t happen very often.  I’m afraid I’m always ambushed by something.  For example, today I have two children home sick, and 3 more ready to arrive any minute.  In the meantime, one of my little girls has to have an emergency visit to the dentist, who I’m pretty sure probably feels as though he’s being stalked. Honestly, I think I’m there weekly.  There really should be some kind of frequent flyer card – maybe I can earn a free thing of dental floss – the real size.  Anyway, I had to laugh because I’m just simply not able to plan a day and have it be what I expected.  Now, if I was a person who liked surprises and enjoyed spontaneity ALL the time, this would be a fine way to live.  Unfortunately, I’m a real person who needs some known quantity and would like to actually accomplish a task in a reasonable amount of time. Spontaneity is all well and good for a movie night, but really as a way of life, not so great..

I think I must still need to learn the lesson of letting go — relaxing and enjoying the ride.  This roller coaster is a bit ridiculous if you ask me….up and down and around and around… and I really do hate going in circles.  As a single parent, our lives are so often about getting everything together…or maybe I should say holding everything together…or more accurately looking like we are holding everything together.  I can’t seem to figure out how to even look like it anymore.

Recently all my kids were home for spring break, which I absolutely loved!  It reminded me of all those wonderful homeschooling days – all my kiddos around me. Of course, we accomplished absolutely nothing that week which would have been an exceedingly bad homeschooling week. But it was considered by all to be an exceedingly wonderful week.

What a blessing to have nothing that we actually had to do…oh, that life could always be like that!  Well, maybe for a few more days than a week…I’m sure we’d get quite tired of doing nothing – although at the moment that is hard to imagine.

In order to survive as single parents with our sanity intact, I’m pretty sure we have to lower some expectations – expectations about what we can accomplish in 15 minutes, in an hour, in a day, in a week…well, you get the idea.  Maybe if I didn’t put so very many things on my to do list, I could finish a day not feeling like a complete failure.

I guess what I want to share is that there is a whole lot of grace in this life. My kids would much rather have me sit down and watch a movie with them than load the dishwasher.  (I know because they have told me.)  My kids would rather have family time than a perfect house —it’s hard to have good family time in a perfect house anyway!

There are lots of sayings about a messy house being a happy home.  I get the idea and to a point I agree, although I have to have some order.  I think the key is finding balance, understand priorities, and relaxing.  Relaxing our unreasonable expectations (maybe even some reasonable ones too), relaxing our hold on having everything in order, and relaxing with our children.  We, as single parents, just need to relax in general.  I know, I know…show me how, when, where and I’m there!

As much as I wish relaxing was a glass of sweet tea, a good book and a hammock…mine is more sitting on the grass watching my son play soccer, putting down the work project to watch a little girl ride her bike, or sharing the sofa with 3 children on movie night.  I believe that relaxing is an attitude.  It’s choosing not to stress about the stuff we can’t fix and maybe even the stuff that we can fix.  It’s choosing not to stress about the past, the present or the future because God’s got it.

Pant-flying is definitely the way to go!  Relax and let the wind take you where you need to go!  God is good and He knows how to fly pants really well!

Strong Arms

Sitting by the sideline of my son’s soccer game, I had an interesting halftime conversation.  Another single mom friend and I were talking about how we miss being hugged, maybe I should say held.  I’m blessed to have many friends who will give me loving hugs.  But there is a big difference between sweet friends… Continue reading Strong Arms

My Pot of Honey

So I realized my life is really serious.  And, I’m not a terribly serious person.  I’m always talking about all the things that happen in my life that are difficult to deal with because that is where I am. I sound a little like Eeyore when I’m really more like Tigger, although lately, I’ve been… Continue reading My Pot of Honey

Changes – the good, the bad and the just different

Today is a wistful feeling sort of day for me.  I’m not sure what prompted it – maybe its planning for college for my oldest or planning kindergarten for my youngest.  I’m missing a simpler time.  When a perfect day involved reading on the sofa, math on the patio, and memory work in the cul-de-sac. … Continue reading Changes – the good, the bad and the just different

“Mommy, you forgot my show and tell today…again.” 

That’s how my sweet preschooler greeted me today after preschool.  Yup.  I forgot.  I think I’ve forgotten more than remembered.  She is scheduled for Monday morning show and tell which usually would be great for my just get it done attitude.  BUT I don’t ever think about it in the crazy mad rush on Sunday night or Monday morning.

I’m pretty sure I’m the reigning most pathetic mom at preschool so I can’t bring myself to ask for a different day.

I really need to get over trying to appear like I have it all together.  I joke that I can’t even give the illusion of being organized.  I used to be able to at least appear like I was slightly organized.  Now…not so much.  Things are always falling by the wayside. I have lists.  I have calendars.  I have more lists.  No matter how hard I try, I end up forgetting something daily.

The good thing is I haven’t forgotten any of my children anywhere yet.  (Oh golly…now I’m gonna forget someone cause I said that!)

I used to be so much about appearing like I could handle this life really well – you know that organized, put-together, calm mom – on the outside, I mean.  I’ve always been a bit of a mess on the inside.  But now…things are different.  It’s interesting how God works in our lives.  Now, when my outside world seems most out of control  — crazy schedule, mile long to-do list, forgotten stuff, mismatched socks on my 4-year-old (well, actually that’s her choice), cluttered living, endless laundry, too many books, papers and crayons and an unknown number of house projects — my inside world, my heart and soul, is at peace.

And by peace I mean that peace which passes all understanding – you know that God peace.  I still have worries, stress and occasional emotional meltdowns.  But I feel a current of peace under the storm of my life.  I think it’s because I’m learning to be thankful for what God is doing in my life.  I’m thankful for how He takes care of us, provides for us and shows His love for us in big and little ways. There is A LOT I would change about my life, but there is a lot I wouldn’t change at all.

You know that verse in Philippians 4 that talks about God’s peace which passes all understanding guarding our hearts and minds? That guarding peace is because we rejoice (vs 4), we are willing to put aside our rights for others (vs 5), we have an eternal perspective (vs 5), when we are anxious, we fight it with prayer (vs.6), and we are thankful (vs 7).  That’s quite a list – I like lists.  I believe that the key is prayer with thanksgiving.

As I’m faced with daunting tasks and difficult decisions, I’m trying to find something to be grateful for in the process.  Right now I’m trying to figure out how to address my little girls’ learning issues next year. I can get rather anxious about it – it’s a big deal and the options are limited and expensive.  What can I be thankful for?  That these sweet little girls are mine.  That there are options – and some are pretty good.  That I know that He loves my little girls even more than I do – unfathomable.  That I know that He has a great plan for their lives.  And that He will show me the right path in His time (which, by the way, is NEVER the same as my time).

That is one of the big ones for me right now — others are college decisions and paying for college for my oldest, raising a teenage girl in this culture, a little boy who needs a godly man to step into his world and ask deep questions, and the thousands of other decisions that need my attention each day.  I’m sure we all have ridiculously long and complicated lists.  Even in the midst of all the yuck of our lives, we can choose to be thankful and focus on the good things.  There’s gotta be a good thing or two or more.  I just know it.

I might not have it all together for more than 5 seconds a day, but I have a lot to be thankful for so maybe having it all together isn’t the be all end all I thought it was.  Maybe I can just be messy me who forgets stuff and gets weepy at times, who can choose to smile while tripping over the clutter of a house full of children I love with abandon and who occasionally forgets to pack show and tell for her preschoolers.

I guess what I’m sharing is — we don’t have to have it all together to be blessed or to be a blessing.

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