Do you ever feel this way? I often do--still do! This made me giggle. As a break every day, at lunch or at nights when we have all fallen to exhaustion from all of our work, we have been watching the 4th season of Downton Abby. This woman reminds me so much of my family--my mama had the big, bulging blue eyes--and I actually think she, (The Dowager) is so very clever.
When I first had Sarah, my first child, I absolutely fell in love with her because I had waited so long to get married and then to have a child. But I distinctly remember one Friday thinking, "Oh no, children are never going to go away on the weekend!" After being single for a very long time, and then living and traveling in Europe, I had gotten accustomed to lots of stimulation, interesting life and was not at all prepared to be a mom.
That Friday night was such an "ahhha" moment. It was a realization that my life was changed forever. I love love time alone and sometimes almost gasped for breath when I felt suffocated by the on and on-ness of it. I had few support systems--moved 17 times, 6 times internationally, and so longed for a break--which was rare. But even now, I am realizing, like the Dowager commented--parenting is on and on and on!
And actually, children may feel the same way if they are in a "too serious" or "angry" house. All of us need some fun and variety mixed in to our days. And I am convinced that if Jesus made colors, puppies, humor and laughter, and the desire to wiggle and sway when we hear music, we were made to have pleasure amidst the serious. So today is a day to lighten up.
One of the greatest gifts we can give to our children is the ability to celebrate life, to "shake it up" and to create fun and memories as an expectation of life. Giving this gift means we will have children who have learned to love to laugh, love to play, love to make their own family traditions. Giving them the delight of celebrating life and people and making parties when needed will give our children the ability to practice enjoyment when they need to remember that God is good, the source of all good things and pleasure--and to give them hope when they need a lift or distraction.
We have had lots and lots of serious times in our family this summer--maybe I should add lots of very responsible times as it seems everyone is working on a deadline or project (Sarah-- a book and website and lots and lots of paper work for a possible future project--Joel finishing up a couple of film scoring projects and the orchestration for a 175 page piece; Joy summer school and work and me a gazillion writing projects, blogs and keeping everyone fed and straight, Clay a book and Nathan his movie, Rachael books, assisting me, and her own blog.) and everyone is in the midst of trying to figure money out and three of the kids are home for the whole summer (Nathan and Rachael were just here for 8 days) and so the family discussions, messes, ideals, moods just go on and on and on. Sometimes--many times--these kids just wear me out. And I in the midst of the book deadline and blogs and ministry and life have been a little weary for days on end. Though the weariness is mixed with great pleasure amidst all the diverse moments.
Joy and me on our walk tonight!
So, I have instituted one of my old traditions back into my schedule and theirs--taking each child out alone for some kind of meal (coffee, tea, chai or breakfast or lunch) often with a long walk accompanying it. I love to walk and walk and walk--especially when it is beautiful outside. It really helps me with my adrenalin and impatience to get out and walk amongst the flowers, mountains, and gardens of my neighbors. So fun to get my children alone!
Tonight, every one was gone and Joy and I jumped in the car and drove down to a new cafe we had heard about. (The Skirted Heifer--an organic and natural hamburger cafe we just heard about. And oh oh oh--it was so very delicious. We split one so we wouldn't feel quite so guilty--and the fries are amazing!)
Afterwards, we drove to a close-by street of Victorian Houses and took a walk in the dusk where lots of people were sitting on their front porches having dinner and swinging on the porch swings. I love walking with the kids--we do it near our home almost every night of summer. Walking outdoors opens hearts--jokes are shared, sunsets admired, thoughts and dreams for the whole day.
As we were chatting and walking and breathing in the wonderful cool night and evening lights, we came upon a young mom, two children and two other women---She looked and me, gasped, and said, "I can't believe it!" Ends up that she is a missionary in India and reads my books and blog every day--so much fun. A God ordained moment of encouragement for her and for me! And we met several others--a darling dog and owner, and heard about a new coffee shop and ended up having lots of fun.
We rocked to her play lists of music all the way home and were so much happier from a night away by the time we arrived home in the darkness and coolness of the mountain evening.
What are you planning/doing for a break amidst the serious or mundane this summer? What are some of your ideas for all ages?
I will be talking about some of the things our family did through the seasons to celebrate life, make memories and to have fun at the e-conference.
Some questions I keep getting about the e-conference: Register Here
Can I watch it later if I am busy on Monday or Tuesday night? Yes--Monday and Tuesday are fun because being together with women all over the world all at once is lots of fun. But so many are on vacation now, I know many who normally attend our conferences will miss it. You can purchase it and download the video and pdf notes any time to enjoy at your leisure. The cost goes up a little after the conference is taped because there is more admin to take care of after the fact and I hire someone to do all the correspondence.
Why are you doing these e-conferences and why do they cost? We have had literally hundreds of women every year ask us if we can do some conferences in their areas. The cost and time commitment is prohibitive for us, so we are attempting to do conferences online. We pay a company to host it, someone to administrate it, and then have 3 more bills with distribution and emails after the conference is over, so the cost helps pay these bills. We also are seeking to do leadership trainings all over the world, which we do as a ministry. The money from the conferences is helping us to open new areas of ministry and to pay for more help for me personally, as I cannot keep up with all the growth of our ministry and am being helped by some amazing, sweet women. Thanks for helping me to be able to keep going in writing by having paid assistance.
Is the material different from that in the book? Does it apply to all ages? Lots and lots of extra inspiration comes with me to the conferences--and the plan encourages moms of all ages to keep their vision and role as a mom and mentor clearly in their minds--no matter what age. I will not have time to do this in the fall, so we decided to take a chance and do it now before I start traveling again.
Please tell your friends about it--if you know some mamas who need encouragement. Share on Facebook, twitter and emails--as we keep finding moms who feel alone but have connected with new moms at these conferences. Lots of moms get together and watch as a group. Many have had their husbands join--we love hearing all the stories! Please do not share the links with friends who have not purchased, as this is all copy righted material and you help us support our ministry when you register. We are most grateful.