Sunday, November 07, 2010

we bloom here

Last winter during my pregnancy with Luca I had the luxury of free time. Although I was mothering three young children and homeschooling at the time, none of my three were babies or toddlers. Children who sleep through the night, dress themselves, feed themselves and are capable of their own personal care (save a few nights a week where I trim nails, 'go over' brushed teeth and floss those little teeth meticulously) translates into a lot more downtime for a mother to read, knit, write, sew, socialize, ponder life and do whatever else she wishes to do without being quite so 'needed'.

During that time I was blessed enough to be able to read several books, blogs and articles which have really offered immense amounts of insight, encouragement and inspiration along with spurring me on to focus more intently on my purpose in life and to be able to formulate mentally what my true core values are.

One of these books was Mitten Strings for God- Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry by Katrina Kenison. I was wise enough to make several journal entries as I read this book and to write down, ponder and eventually journal about those sentences, thoughts or chapters that struck me as wise and really spoke to me.

The chapter on 'Balance' is what I spent most of my journal entries on. Kenison writes:

" 'With our pitchers we attempt sometimes to water a field, not a garden' Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote. How easy is it to find ourselves sprinkling droplets over a field, spreading ourselves too thin, giving without replenishing, accomplishing nothing of real value. And so I strive to keep my garden small, but to care for it joyfully and well. We bloom here."

This image of my life as a 'garden' will stay with me forever. How often do I overextend myself only to be left shaking my watering can in hopes of getting just a few more needed droplets of water out only to be ultimately left standing a dry and thirsty field. In the end, I am left angry, frustrated and depleted at having neglected my own small garden and to disappoint those around me. What a lesson!

She also encourages the reader to make a list and to think about our own days and weeks; to take a long hard look at our schedules, routines and rhythms. She asks us to ask the tough questions about how we are spending our time, what we love most to do (and if we are actually doing them!), what activities and obligations 'steal' our time, what undertakings are getting in the way of the simpler life that we wish you lead and to ask our selves what emotion is leading us to do the things we do (obligation? fear of being judged, left out or because our children are begging for them?).

I took the time to answer these questions and find myself, nearly a year later, still pondering them and attempting to dig deep and be brave about living an authentic life.

I am still striving each day. The journey to balance all that God has blessed me with is no easy feat but is valuable and worthy enough to demand my full attention along the journey.

A very wise and humble friend recently gave our baby a handmade gift with a card attached that read
'Like me, this gift has imperfections- but comes with lots of love'.

To me this really captures the essence of motherhood. There are no perfect mothers. No perfect families. No perfect children. But if we are living each day out of love then those imperfections and inadequacies become part of the rich thread that weaves and holds our beautiful lives together.

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