What a week this has been!
* Ice and snow and slush last weekend. More is expected tomorrow and Saturday. What!!! Snow and ice in Charlotte two weekends in a row. Part of what I love about living in the South is NOT having to deal with winter weather. I am grateful that Laurie has faithfully encouraged me to stock up on food so that on snowy days, on icy days, we will have plenty of yummy things to eat.
* I have had coffee/tea/talking dates with friends three times this week. There is nothing as wonderful and relaxing and engaging and life-affirming as talking and laughing and crying with friends. Telling stories. Finding out how much I have in common with so many strong and amazing and smart and wise and divinely human women. Thank you, Mary Anna and Krystal and Benita.
* I was challenged by the aforementioned sister-friends (as well as Karen and Lisa and Judy and Heather and Gibbs and Katie) to ask myself some tough questions about how I value myself: as a woman, as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter, as a friend. Why do I not stand up for what I want and need and wish for in my home, in my marriage, in my church, in my other relationships? Why do I put up with mediocrity so often? Why do I not initiate the courageous conversations more often? When will I stop taking "no" and shrugged shoulders as answers to my very legitimate questions and requests? Why do I not treat myself as well as I have often advised others to treat themselves? Why do I not pay myself a salary for the work I do? After all, I don't get to drive to and from work every day. I don't get weekends off. This is a 24 hour job, seven days per week - and I deserve to get paid. When will I take myself more seriously more regularly??? I am grateful for the kick in the pants, ladies.
* Kristiana and I have been faithful in our working out at the Y. Zumba class. Cardio funk class. Treadmill time. Lifting weights. Being stopped by one of the gym regulars in the middle of doing something wrong and being told how to do it right. He said, "I don't want to hurt your feelings, but ..." And then he very gently explained what I was doing wrong. I assured him that he didn't hurt my feelings. I was and am glad to be set straight where setting straight is necessary. I am grateful that he noticed and was willing to take the time to offer his advice.
* We have begun a new way of homeschooling this week. My children are 13 and 16. If they attended "traditional school," they would be fiercely independent in their studies and homework and writing and research. So I have released the reins. I have given them the freedom to pursue interests and topics of their own design and choosing. It is interesting and scary and enlightening and liberating to watch them figure out what they want to know and figure out how and where to find the information they need. I am grateful that they are such curious and courageous kids. I am glad to have this opportunity to watch them find their way.
* I am grateful that in releasing the reins of their lives, I am able to take up the reins of my own life. I have been able to do some overdue reading and journaling and collage-making. I have spent hours decluttering and cleaning and redecorating some spaces in our home. We have taken several bags and boxes of things to Good Will. I have spent time in prayer and preparation for a series of Bible studies I will teach at a nearby senior living community in April. This is the third time they have invited me to teach a month-long series.
* I am thrilled that we have done all this great stuff in the first week of our new way of doing our weekly school/life thing. What on earth will we accomplish by the end of the month? By the end of the school year? What school year??? Why does the learning and growth have to stop at the end of June? Let the learning and growing and living continue!
* And once again, I am aware these days of the extraordinary blessing of ordinary days and ordinary moments. To be able to sleep all the way through the night. To wake up to oatmeal (I have been adding cinnamon and chopped apples lately) and hot tea and a great book at the kitchen table. Hot water and Dr Bronner's soap in the shower. The smell of sandalwood incense brought back from India by a dear friend. A vacuum cleaner that works well - especially after cutting my son's hair. The fact that my son, at 13 years of age, still prefers my haircuts over any salon or barber shop he has ever gone to. Ice cold water during and after a workout. Being able to have text exchanges with a dear friend who is spending this year in Spain - technology blows my mind every single day. Moleskine sketchbook notebooks and the lovely sound of my pens scratching my thoughts into its pages. And this moment, this quiet, solitary moment of looking back on my week with gratitude - I am enormously grateful for this moment. I am alive and well, at peace, joy-and wonder-filled.
All is well.