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Posts Tagged ‘Change’

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 4.52.03 PMThe leaves are changing, falling.

The sun struggles to come up, rushes to go back down.

The birds fly, no longer lazily on their own, but determinedly with others.

Air is not longer stifling, motionless, but moving and with a chill.

The season of harvest is coming to an end.

Autumn has fallen onto our laps.

It is a season of change.

About a year ago I sat in a coffee shop, sipping a warm drink with a woman of great character, reputation and heart. We shared stories of our children, our hubbies, ourselves. We listened, we laughed, we shared what God was teaching us.

It was then that I shared a secret that I felt that God had been whispering to me. I told her of how for days, weeks really, I had a sense of change in the air. Not just change, but a sense of foreboding, that what might be coming might also not be desired, good, or pleasant. That was not all, I also had the most unexpected sense of peace.

Change, whether in the form of seasons of the year, or seasons of life, is inevitable and carries with it both anticipation and dread. Change means our normal is no longer our normal.

There is something interesting in the falling of leaves. Their falling is ultimately caused by lack of daylight, which signals change to the trees. The minerals in the leaves travel to the branches. Eventually the leaves change color, then fall, leaving the tree naked and lifeless … just what it needs to be as it enters the dormant winter season. Then, as winter comes to an end, those stored minerals do their work, and buds form on the branches, heralding new life, a new season.

Changes in our lives can also seem to usher us into dark, lifeless, or dormant seasons. Yet, we can be assured that there is always a spring that follows the darkness, the cold of winter.

“For You have tried us, O God;
You have refined us as silver is refined.”
Psalm 66:10

 

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Now what?

This graduation season is the first in a number of years that I do not have a child graduating from a high school or university.

Though there are no caps and gowns to be worn under my roof, I do get to annually experience high school graduation through the students I get to work alongside.

As the ceremonies approach there are often two types of graduates:

  1. those who can’t wait to graduate
  2. those who say graduation is coming too soon

The thing is that neither of those responses to graduation is any indicator of how successful they will be after they cross the stage to receive their diploma.

There is one thing for certain, graduation will indeed occur, and this season of life will now be in their past.

As a mom who has watched three of her kids go through the high school graduation process, each with their own approach to, each with their own unique next step, I can say one thing is certain …

change is inevitable, unpredictable
and
in God’s hands.

One can never guess what a year from commencement might bring in the life of a graduate.

After a dozen or so years, a young adult experiences change in every area of their lives, often all at once.

Like the grad cap that gets thrown up into the air as the graduation ceremony comes to an end, the routines, schedules and relationships of much of one’s life disappear. For those who will leave home for school, work or travel in a new community, the amount of change mounts even more.

For many a hard reality awaits as:

  • finances include not just purchasing the newest technology, but rent, a car payment and the awful reality called taxes.
  • education means actually having to be responsible for doing the work, and a due date is actually the date the assignment is due … no exceptions.
  • one’s bestie in high school might find a new bestie
  • those amazingly natural basketball skills one exhibited in high school are mediocre at the university level, and one will need to work harder than ever before to get off the bench.

For others a great and unexpected freedom reveals itself:

  • education is exciting now that one can choose courses that provide interest and stimulation
  • new friendships develop with people who accept each other as they are
  • the list of extracurricular activities grows, providing more opportunities to participate in an area of strength
  • entering the workforce means leaving homework in the past

Whatever route a graduate goes, whether it is work, school or a bit of both, it can seem daunting and exciting … all at once.

Last weekend, actress and comedian Mindy Kaling gave the commencement address at Dartmouth College. She said,

“Can I do this by myself?
The reality is, I’m not doing it by myself,”
“I’m surrounded by family and friends
who love and support me.””

As the transitions associated with graduation occur, our graduates need to be reminded that they are not all alone in their changes. That they have supporters all around them, cheering them on, at the ready for when they need advise, a few bucks, a meal, a hug.

They also need the reminder that their futures are in the hands of a God who has “created them in their mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13), “has loved them with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3), “who will never leave them or forsake them” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

 

 

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It is when our children were in their toddler and preschool years that I came to understand the back and forth, the yin and yang of change.

With each stage of growing independence and change, there would be two steps forward and one back. They would take their first steps towards that independence in walking, and become more parent-needy. They would move from crib to bed, and become even more attached to their teddy. They would excitedly start preschool one day, and play ever the more intentionally with their siblings the next.

Children are not alone in this response to change.

As an adult, I find as my summer break ends and I head back to work, within days I am longing for time with my loves. When the road trip starts I look forward to not having to prepare meals, but on the drive home I am excitedly planning a menu for the days after we return home. All those years of longing for the kids to grow up to adulthood … then we miss their daily presence.

Change is never easy,
you fight to hold on
and you fight to let go.

This reality is not necessarily negative, as a matter of fact, it is most healthy to both strive for something new, while mourning that which is behind. That is the life balance that we are all playing with, no doubt, all throughout our lives. The past being like a teddy bear, to run back to and embrace … just a one-step-back kind of embrace.

And so we keep moving forward, we keep changing and growing, not forgetting where our strength to change came from.

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School has begun for our household, and we are limping into the routine that comes with it.

The paperwork of a new school year accumulates on my counter, and in my inbox. The school photo days are on the calendar. The money for various activities, yearbooks and fees demand payment. The dinner calendar filled out for the next week. Bedtimes become earlier, to prevent fatigue, and because of it.

… and I am starting my day writing a blog post.

But, there is something different in the blog writing from the three previous years of September mornings.

This fall itsawonderfilledlife will not be published every day of the week, but twice a week, so as to avail time for other writing. My intent is that each Tuesday and Friday I will publish a new post.

So, stay tuned!

 

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IMG_1192.JPGIn our house, yesterday was the end of summer.

The summer of a mostly empty house, with our teen and twenty-something kids working, volunteering and traveling. The summer of cleaning, purging and refreshing our house. The summer of perfect weather, lazy mornings and unparalleled quiet.

With today’s dawning, the window to summer is closed and fall commences. Today school begins, with the courses, the activities, the schedules of autumn giving us need for the organizational skills which have lay dormant for the past two months.

Our autumn begins back in high school, for me … grade 10, for our ‘baby boy’ … grade 12, for our ‘baby girl’ … final year of university, for our first born girl … autumn number twelve for hubby, in his role as pastor.

There is change in the air of autumn, of this autumn.

Our international student graduated high school in June, and we being this autumn with no student, renter or boarder.

Our son has chosen to not play football, and hubby will not be coaching.

I have moved from middle to high school … from grade 8 to 12.

We moved our son’s bedroom from the cave to the penthouse.

This year I one I have been praying about for months. You see there is change in the air of this school year, with one daughter graduating from high school and the other completing her undergraduate program. We cannot know yet what our household will look like a year from now, with our first born looking at grad schools in the east, and our youngest daughter looking at L’Arche communities around the world.

Change will continue to be in the air as our autumn turns to winter, to spring and back to summer again.

Normally I love change, I live for change, new, unique, and doing things ‘out of the box’, but the unknown changes to come in the next year(s) make me a bit more uneasy.

With the changes of season, occupations, school years, residence, family and any other small or big alteration to our lives, we do have one thing that never changes.

Jesus Christ never changes!
He is the same
yesterday,
today,

FOREVER.
Hebrews 13:8

As we embrace the changes that life places in our hands, may we constantly remember that not everything changes, and that there is the One oft called our rock, our anchor, our cornerstone who is the forever the same, unchanging.

Welcome to another new season of life!

 

 

 

 

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Oh, I so love to wonder! (like you didn’t know that by now)

But, once in a while, I come across a thing (like snakes ... well, most of the time), or a place (like the dentist’s office), or an event that really steals the wonder from my day.

One day, while walking in the beautiful sun, with my beast, Shiloh, I walked by two women. One woman was pushing an infant (I peeked, and ‘it’ was definitely an infant) in a stroller, and the other walking along side of them.

They looked to be mid-late twenties, attractive, and nicely dressed (I noticed all of this because I am a female, and WE notice EVERYTHING about people). But, they didn’t notice my beast (everyone notices my beast, she is a beauty. When we walk, she makes eye contact with everyone, looking for positive attention … she hears, “oh, pretty puppy” so often, I have had to push her into the van after the walk, due to the swelling of her head … but I digress). I do not think they noticed me either, but that is not uncommon, as I walk with a beast who gets all the attention.

Just as my beast and I were passing the trio, the lady (?) pushing the stroller, says to her friend, ” … and I said, that was F#@$ing rude …”

Ouch! My ears were hurting. Then I thought of the the infant in the stroller, and my heart was aching for him/her (no color definition in the child’s clothing to indicate the gender). I may be a purist, but a new little bundle should not start life hearing such cold language. Man, what will that child hear (at home) when the ‘newness’ of infant becomes the ‘awkwardness’ of adolescence, or the independence of teenage?

Sadly, I expect more of the same. And as I walked by, feeling the sense of wonder of nature, and of life ebb from my being, I also predict that the child, sleeping peacefully in his/her stroller, may grow up hearing such caustic-ness directed ‘towards’ him/her.

I felt deflated! I felt angry! I felt violated!

What I felt most was a desire to turn around, catch up with the classy-looking ‘ladies’ and give them a piece of my mind!

But, instead, shoulders hanging low, I prayed. I prayed that God would inject, as only He can, himself into the life of that child, and the lives of those two women. I prayed that the child would never hear such nastiness, at home, when he/she is old enough to mimic what is heard.

Then, I prayed for forgiveness. I may not use the same word I heard from that lady on the path (I tell my kids that only people who have no creativity of language use such words, so loosely, and that I know they are creative people, so I expect more from them). But, my kids have surely heard the same cold, hard, unrighteous anger from me.

That day on the path reminded me that if wonder is so important to me, then I need to be more conscious to not steal it from those around me with my words … and my attitude.

“Watch the way you talk.

Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth.

Say only what helps, each word a gift.

Don’t grieve God.

Don’t break his heart.

His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you,

is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself.

Don’t take such a gift for granted.

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk.

Be gentle with one another, sensitive.”

Ephesians 4:29-31 (Message)

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20140608-144703-53223590.jpgI love music. I love Bach, Johnny Cash, U2, Ella Fitzgerald, Starfield, Elton John, Louis Armstrong, Taylor Swift, Casting Crowns, Ennio Marricone, Coldplay, ABBA, Paolo Nutini, Michael Buble,  TobyMac, Adele, and this list is truly just a tip of my music loves iceberg!

Music speaks to me, it challenges, moves, and teaches me. I love the visuals that can be created in it’s combination of lyrics and music. I love the emotions that a song can bring out. I love how, out of nowhere a song can ‘pop’ into my mind, and be mulled over for hours, as though it was ‘placed’ there, just for me, like a lovingly wrapped gift. I hate songs that speak lies, I love songs that speak truth.

This morning I have had a song in my mind, ‘placed’ there, I am certain.

It is a song called “This is your Life”, by Switchfoot. Some of the lyrics are:

yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead
yesterday is a promise that you’ve broken
don’t close your eyes, don’t close your eyes
this is your life and today is all you’ve got now
yeah, and today is all you’ll ever have
don’t close your eyes
don’t close your eyes

this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
when the world was younger and you had everything to lose

yesterday is a kid in the corner
yesterday is dead and over

don’t close your eyes

Now, maybe I awoke with it in my head because I slept miserably last night (‘don’t close your eyes‘).

Or, maybe it is because I recently celebrated a birthday … like three months ago (‘this is your life, are you who you want to be, this is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be‘).

Maybe it is because this weekend I was chatting with my eldest daughter about my memories of childhood (‘yesterday is a kid in the corner’ … pretty much sums up my entire childhood, so now you know what I was like as a kid!).

Maybe it’s because today is my last day of classes with students (‘today is all you’ve got now’).

Or maybe it is playing in my mind because I awoke in a rather melancholy mood (this is your life and today is all you’ve got now yeah, and today is all you’ll ever have).

I expect it’s a combination of all of the above, but, today, it might be more of the last. Now today is not all that bad, but with the combination of lack of sleep, end of the school year, thinking of years past, a kind of recent birthday AND melancholy I’m really not excited that today (more this present season of life, than this ‘day’) is all I’ve got, and all I’ll ever have. This season is one of realizing that there are parts of my life that just simply are so far from where I want them to be.

As an obsessive compulsive person when it comes to planning into the future, today my future looks far more fuzzy than I would like. To use more song lyrics, I prefer an outlook where ‘the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades’. And it’s not that it’s an all doom and gloom forecast of the future, it is simply that I cannot see anything. And I’m an ‘inquiring mind, and inquiring minds need to know’ (more indicators of my age).

Maybe the real reason this song is in my mind is that, despite my melancholy mood, despite the lack of sleep, despite my aging body, despite the end of Spring Break, despite the fact that not all childhood memories are sweetness and light, and even despite the fact the promises get broken, and the future is unknown, I’ve been given this day, and if I don’t close my eyes, I might find a bit of wonder laying in my path.

AND, by the way, there are NO wrinkles on this forehead! See, at my age, that is something to wonder about 😉

 

 

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The final chapel for the school year reminded me that it was my final chapel at high school.

In September I will enter the doors of the Middle campus, rather than the high school campus. I will be working in grade 8, helping students prepare to enter high school, rather than helping them prepare to leave high school. I will be looking at students in-the-eye, rather than looking up to them … well, at least in September … by January, I will be looking up at them!

That final chapel seemed so … final. Each face on the screen (it was an awards chapel) reminded me that these students would not be in and out of my every day next school year. Each student in the row I sat … the homeroom of students who I have delighted in … reminded me of the great efforts (and vast amounts of candy) it took to get to know each … in those rare homeroom blocks, in the halls, in the classrooms, to earn their trust. Each memory of this past year refreshed as though I could almost reach out and touch them, as they had touched me.

I was feeling rather melancholy.

Had I made the right decision?

Had I thought this through?

Had I opted to give up too much?

Was I running away?

What would my students do without me?

And it was that last question to myself that was the head shake, the face palm that I needed.

I am SO not indispensable, SO not the only one able to meet the needs in the lives of the students.

I am the hands and feet of learning, of processing, of developing, of advancing and … of God. I am His instrument, His tool, and I work best with students when I acknowledge that I am in His control, and that I am fulfilling His plans … not my own.

I know with certainty that God loves these students, whether ones I work within on my schedule, ones I’ve gotten to know about in my home room, or just ones who I said hi to in the halls. And He loves them more than I do. His good will for them is not dependent on me sticking with them throughout their school years, it is dependent only on Him, and His plan for their life, for their days.

I was also reminded that He has a plan for me too. And that His plan is not dependent on what decisions I make, His plan is only dependent on His will … and I can rest in the assurance that He has the final word on my future.

“Change is in the air.
This change reminds us that we are made and beautifully sculpted
by the same power that orchestrates the change of season.
Let this be the season you embrace and align yourself with this change.”
Steve Maraboli

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2bc3abe82665c398b6122684f92840b1As I was writing this post, I was reminded that I had written something similar about the way I was feeling once before, and when I searched through my posts what I found was a post called https://itsawonderfilledlife.net/2012/04/12/the-day-i-wanted-to-run-away/. What I thought that was interesting was that it was written almost exactly one year ago … to the day. Maybe this ‘feeling’ is a new form of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Another spring day, and another restless heart.11bd7c4a29807b4148a15098f7b39665

This time, though, I was not so much desiring to run away as I was desiring something fresh, something new, something … more.

It is a restless heart that reminds me I am not easily satisfied, or content, with life as it is … a condition that makes being married to me, or living with me, no easy thing!

It is when I am restless that I most desire change on a big scale.

I desire to quit my job, change my job, change my career, go back to school …

I desire to renovate our home, or sell our home and move to a much cheaper condo, a fixer-upper, a rental …

I desire to diet, run, start an exercise program, eat more chocolate …758ba8d2ec6f00e890924954018323ee

I desire to spend more time with hubby, with friends, with my kids, alone …

I desire to move to a new house, a new city, a new life …

I desire … more.

It is when I am experiencing this restless heart that status quo is more boring, annoying, depressing …

I echo the words of Vivien Leigh, who said, “I cannot let well enough alone. I get restless. I have to be doing different things. I am a very impatient person and headstrong.” Especially headstrong …

Then I remember … this restlessness is not all bad.

Because I am restless I am not going to be content with things as they are, I am restless because I have been created for …

MORE than this!

And in this … more … my restless heart finds … rest.

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ONE is the loneliest number …”
the Beatles

The Weight Loss DiaBLOG – month five! This month has produced (or removed) the hardest fought to get rid of one pound!

The good thing about this one pound loss is that it has put me out of the teens, and I am now twenty pounds lighter! Clothes are feeling so much better, and the ones in my closet that have been gathering dust, due to snugness are now anticipated to be wearable in another five to ten pounds (well, that is just the slightly dusty ones … there are levels of dustiness in my closet that indicate the gradual weight gain over the years like rings around a tree).

So folks, Christmas festivities are just around the corner, and we need an action plan! I am sure that you can agree that we do not want shortbread cookies, nuts, festive beverages and stuffing to ruin our months of effort! So, now is the time, before you are offered, “just one little appetizer,” to think about the strategies you might use to either not gain, or maybe even lose weight in December.

Here are my Ten Ways to Not Blow the Diet:

  1. Food Is Not Reward – No matter how well you and I have done in the past year, cocktail wienies are not the prize
  2. Move – Standing at the party is not exercise. If there is dancing, step out on that dance floor … the worst that can happen is that you look like Eilaine from Seinfeld (see below for a little chuckle).
  3. Quality Friend Time – Cream, fat and carbs. are not the vehicles to meaningful friendships. A visit with a friend over a simple tea, coffee or while taking a walk on a street that provides window shopping are great ways to visit without the additional caloric treats. Spend an evening catching up with each other instead of exchanging gifts, and you will both save money too!
  4. Don’t Always Say No – It is okay to SAY YES TO THE DRESSing, if that is your favorite part of the festive feast. Skip some other part of the meal, or ensure that you are more active that day and the next. Eat what you want, just do not risk not getting back into that little black dress!
  5. Write All That We Eat – Whether you are using a computer program, website, app, or paper and pen, commit to writing down everything that will go into your mouth, every day (yes, Virginia, there is the ability to write it all down on Christmas feast day).
  6. Friend Someone – one IS the loneliest number, especially when we are trying to eat more healthy! Find a friend (NOT a skinny one … that would just be depressing!) that is also trying to eat more healthy, and use each other as daily accountability partners. Two is better than one!
  7. Don’t Overbook – trying to lose weight means be alert to the choices you are making. Don’t allow your holidays to be so busy that you have no time to think and make the best choices possible. Busyness can be our biggest enemy to eating healthy and exercising regularly.
  8. Think Ahead – Before you go to that holiday party, before you go to visit your friends and family before you go to the staff room think about your P.O.A. (plan of action). We are more successful when we take the time to think ahead, and plan what we are going to eat.
  9. Less Is Best – Just because those yummy chocolate truffles are on the table does not mean that you and I need to eat the entire bowl full! If you really want one, eat ONE, and enjoy every moment of it! Multiples do not multiply the enjoyment, only the waistline!
  10. Our Bodies Are Our Home – Lets take care of these vessels we were given to live this life in. I am hoping to be youthful and active as I age, but that does not come from living a sedentary life now. Move it, or lose it … that is the reality we live with in the bodies we have!

Have a Merry Christmas!

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