Monday, October 31, 2011

Treat others well...

I hate waiting.

I can’t stand being stuck behind a slow driver…(or a bad one!) I dislike being held up in line at the grocery store. It drives me nuts when I have to make an effort to get around someone walking slow or taking up an entire aisle in Wal-mart.

I know what bothers me & as such I try not to impose on others in the same way. Unfortunately, I’m probably the worst kind of offender.

In this current season of life I am being convicted of all the times I have rolled my eyes trying to get past someone, tapped my foot impatiently in the checkout line or honked my horn and shaken my fist at another driver. Why am I being convicted? Because I just never know what’s really behind their actions.

The person that is in “my way” in the store? Maybe they are so focused on getting all the items on their list, keeping their children quiet or trying to find the best deal that they simply don’t notice I’m trying to pass by with great impatience.

The person driving “too slow”? Maybe they are out for a relaxing drive around town because their babies just fell asleep and it’s the first time in weeks they’ve gotten some peace and quiet—or maybe this is how “date nights” are occurring for them right now.

The “bad driver” that speeds past me on the interstate? Maybe they are running late for yet another doctor’s appointment, a desperately needed play date or are in dire need to meet their best friend for coffee and girl chat. (side note: I am not condoning BAD driving at all…)

The person holding me up in line because they are watching their purchases like a hawk? Maybe they are having to stretch an already too thin budget to purchase groceries for their family. Maybe in order to put food on their table they are needing to use complicated governmental assistance programs. Maybe they are price matching and/or using coupons in order to avoid a trip to another store and lower the money coming out of their pockets.

We’ve all been an annoyance to someone. For me, I’m trying to think before I act out in impatience. Knowing that I’ve been both the giver of such impatience AND recently the receiver of such impatience, I’m desperately trying to remember we just never know what’s going on in that particular person’s life that day---and maybe a little extra patience and grace could go a LONG way.

Because while that person might be a minor annoyance to me today, I could be just as annoying to them tomorrow….and well, I’d like to think the “treat others as you’d like to be treated” rule could work in my favor…

~takin' a walk in someone else's shoes...~

Monday, October 10, 2011

Don't need "just another thing"

My husband and I feel the strain of this whole “there’s only 24 hours in a day” thing every single day.  When asked how we are doing, we’ll likely respond like most others we know “good, busy/hectic…”  I’ve been feeling the strain of frustration as I watch the seasons change outside, knowing we are in for what will likely be another looooongggg winter.  Additionally, as the leaves fall all around us, I’m reminded that we are in one of the shortest parenting seasons (in the grand scheme of things)….even if it seems like we’re stuck in a loooooooonnnnnnngggg season.

From the time we were first married (a whole 3 years ago) we’ve tried to be incredibly aware of protecting our time.  With my husband working two jobs, two children at home to nurture, involvement in our local church & a home, that despite the desires of my heart, will not learn to clean itself.  Add in family, friends, errands, doctor’s appointments, etc….and those 24 hours are gone….and often we’re negative in time.  As such, we often find that we have little time left over to just play with our children, let alone sit down and have a conversation with one another….or get to bed at a decent hour!

 We’re learning that a “yes” to one thing, is a “no” to another.  A “yes” to a second job, while financially necessary, is a “no” to more family time with Daddy.  A “yes” to a commitment outside the home, is a “no” to that extra time in the home.  A “yes” to a night out with the girls on my husband’s nights off, is a “no” to an in-home date night with him.  And believe me, there are a whole list of things that I often would like to do (volunteering, taking classes & even working outside the home)---but those things aren’t feasible right now…and certainly don’t make financial sense for us right now—hello daycare costs!

The question for us is “when to engage vs. when to retreat.”  We want to be givers of our time, but we also want to be wise and place our own family high on the list of needing our attention.  So, for now, we’re choosing our “yes’s” wisely.  We want our commitments to jobs, others & our local church to be things we are passionate about---and not things that are “just another thing” we have to do.  We remind ourselves that this IS just a season (hopefully my husband won’t always be working two jobs!)---and that our children won’t always be this tiny…and Lord willing, we’ll have an abundance of time “someday” that we can do all those other things we want to that would take additional time now.
I tried to model this mentality last week.  I pushed my to-do list and cleaning schedule to the side and reminded myself that the laundry will always be there, but I won’t always have an opportunity to teach my daughter to jump in the leaves…or spend some extra time cuddling with my son.  Those our moments that no amount of cleaning, errand running, etc can compete with.  Our weather was incredibly warm here (think shorts and tank tops in October!) and we spent several hours outside every day just playing….and after a week of not keeping up with chores, our house is in some terrible shape!  I know I can’t always ignore the work before me, and I’m not suggesting that you should….I’m just suggesting that I need to learn better balance & to place my children in higher regard than completing my to-do list or cleaning my home.  (believe me, I LOVE a neat home and completed to-do list…this is NOT something that comes natural to me!)