Sunday was my 33rd birthday. And on my birthday, I always get very sentimental and resolute. I think part of it is the time of year when a new school year is approaching (or, in our case, has already begun) and shiny new notebooks and fresh pencils always make me feel like I'm about to start something over again.
Having my birthday at this time of year has always been a way to make a "fresh start" for me. I was always (always!) super excited about going to school on the first day and meeting the new kids- hoping to finally find a best girl friend or find the "right" boy who could be my highschool sweetheart (thankfully God had other plans for me!). I loved shopping for new clothes, the hot pavement during summer band, and getting back into a routine again.
As an adult, I've had to make my own "fresh start" days throughout the year, and up until now the only times that really made sense were new years and lent. But now that we have school-aged children, August has jumped out at me as, once again, a time for me to sort of start over. Check on former resolutions and make new ones that are applicable to my life now. God has ordered my life so that our "busy season" starts October, so August is a good time to form new habits before life gets crazy.
As my birthday passes and school days resume, the pools close down and extracurricular activities begin again, it's time to get back into the months of "normal" life. As a creature that loves rhythm and predictability, this makes me SO happy. My days are a little ordered right now: wake-eat-school-lunch-rest-free time-chores-dinner. But as a gift to myself this year, I hope to add some self-care in this year. Early morning workouts, leisurely rest with my sister-friends, and hobbies that unite me to the creative nature of our Lord. These things will, hopefully and ideally, bring me peace and therefore help me to be a more attentive wife, mother, and teacher.
I just finished plowing through Teaching From Rest, and it was probably the best thing I've done for myself lately. I enjoy reading Mackenzie's colloquial writing; it's easy to push through it when there's lots of noise and distractions around me. ;-) It was so encouraging to me, in so many ways, and yesterday might have been our best morning of homeschooling yet because I was able to re-focus on my true goal of our schoolwork: virtue. I remembered, what good am I doing if I yell at them for dawdling when I could probably just as easily make it memorable teaching moment if I went up to them and gently whispered in their ear? How is me YELLING at them setting the example of VIRTUE when it's the exact opposite of how I want them to treat each other? And ironically, Beth read about being a hypocrite in bible history...
For so long, I feel like I've shunned being good to myself. I've been a martyr of sorts, thinking that being scrupulous is a "better" sin. It's not. It's still a sin.
So I hope to take better care of myself now. To honor my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit by taking care of it, including gently telling my kids no when they want to eat my food (because I need nourishment too). To not feel bad about myself when I feel left out of friendships or conversations, but instead to leave my comfort zone and jump in. To forgive myself when I fail to live up to my high standards. To leave room in our schedule for peace and quiet instead of being rushed and frantic, and to not feel guilty for taking some personal time off.
I know, it seems like I'm always making resolutions. At least, it always feels that way to me! But I love the challenge, and I love that it gives me a new chance to reconnect with the Lord using knowledge that is new to me. I do see personal growth in myself- at least I see the opportunity for growth! I just hope that when it's all said and done, and God asks me what I did with my life, I can at least tell him I tried my absolute best.