For the last couple of weeks, I haven't exactly been the most cheerful person to be around. I could make excuses and say it's because of the heat, or the lack of being able to sleep comfortably, or the isolation of living way out here in the country with only the company of my children day in, day out.
But really, those are all just excuses.
Yesterday, I resolved to end the pity-party and get back to my real self. Time to put away the gloom and bring the glow back out.
The first thing I did was revamp my daily to-do list. Nesting urges aside, there's no way I've been able to accomplish the long list of chores I've laid out for myself every day. The only thing that managed to do was make me feel like a failure. I've talked so many times to my big girls about setting priorities to get the most out of your day...it's about time I took some of my own advice. Here's what I came up with.
I broke it down into three categories: Most Important Things To Do, Things I Should Do, and Things I'd Like To Do. Then, I gave myself room for only three things in each category. After putting some real thought into it, I decided on the following:
Most Important Things: Read my Bible, schoolwork with the big girls, play outside with the kids.
Things I Should Do: 1-2 loads of laundry, clean bedroom, balance checkbook/update budget
Things I'd Like To Do: Update chicken coop progress on Weksny Acres blog, organize my desk, write a letter to a friend
When I wrote it all down like that, I realized that I've been putting all my time and energy into chores that will always be there waiting for me, and neglecting the things that are far more important, especially reading my Bible. I know the benefits, to myself and my family, of taking even a little time out for myself to get into the Word every day. Doing that one small thing gave me the peace and perspective I've been seriously lacking.
The next two important things were simple. We decided months ago to do "light" school days through the summer and take off 4-6 weeks when the baby comes. The girls and I have both loved it. And playing outside with the kids? I've used "it's too hot" as an excuse too much. Summer is supposed to be hot, and children should be outside getting sweaty (within reason, of course). Even if I can't do much more than push them on the swing, at least we're all out there together.
We ended up having so much fun, even after we came back inside for snacks, I could've cared less about the rest of the list. I did get to a few of those other things, but knowing that the most important ones were done gave me a sense of accomplishment and the ability to cut myself some slack about everything else. I got to laugh myself silly with my children. How on earth could getting my bedroom clean compare to that?!
A footnote of irony to all this...
I've spent so much time moaning about being lonely that I'd forgotten one basic fact. The Lord is always with me. I humbly asked forgiveness for wallowing in my self-pity, and thanked God for the reminder that I'm never truly alone.
Way later in the afternoon, the phone rang (a truly rare occurence here). Of all the people in the world, it was the woman we bought the house from (she was the executor of the estate after her mother passed, and in charge of getting the house sold). It seems that I've been on her mind lately, and she was wondering whether or not I'd had the baby yet. I was so happy to hear from her, and we spent at least twenty minutes chatting, giggling with excitement about the baby, and getting caught up with each other. I promised she'd be among the first five people we'll call after the baby arrives, and she promised to come down and visit.
I'm always amazed at the way God works and moves in our lives. It seems such a little thing, a simple phone call. But it meant so much.