The Dream of Silence

This morning as the alarm went off, I had visions of a leisurely day ahead. I pictured myself resting in some comfy clothes, book in hand, between loads of laundry, cups of tea, and dishes. The dog would snuggle up to me, I’d turn the ringer off on my phone, I’d bask in the silence.

Then real life set in and my dreams were but a puff of smoke. One child yelling about how much he dislikes school and telling me I’m not his mother (a familiar 7 a.m. refrain.) The other boy slept in a little and woke up grumpy. The buses were late because of the cold and my hard won silence was more of a mad, rapid descent into pandemonium.

J. made it onto the bus, albeit late, bundled up head to toe. Once he made it out the door, I though we were in the clear. Kaleb made it out as well, without any posted delays. I erroneously prepared to indulge in my comforter again a short time before meeting the day.

But the text messages started. “Mom, the bus isn’t here. It’s cold. Is there a delay?” This followed by him coming into the house asking the same questions. While I try to track the bus, I hear it from the recesses of my bedroom, driving past my driveway – child still in the house. No big deal. Just a little hiccup. I will drive him in. He’ll still be on time and no, child, you’re not missing school. It’s an organized study day before your exams.

Except, I forgot to plug in my car last night and it wouldn’t start. Now what? We plug it in for a short time and I get him to school just minutes after the bell rings. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough. I’ve taken care of the immediate fires, but I’m frazzled and the bliss of silence needs to be fought for again. It’s fine – a great excuse for a chai latte and a muffin… and now that I’m out, I might as well do something with my day. Shopping, anyone?

My No-Resolution Resolution

We have been flung full-force into real life once again. I made no resolutions this year because I’m pretty darned perfect! (I kid, people. I kid.) I made no resolutions this year because I’m honest enough with myself to know that unless they involve books, I’m probably not going to keep them, and in all honestly, my bad book habits probably aren’t going to change either. (I’m talking about my piles of unread books from years ago, but can’t walk past a bookstore or book table habit.)

We started the new year sunkissed and refreshed. I had a few very brief day-dreamy moments where I considered the possibility that maybe life would slow down a little in 2020. (Hard no.) And yet, I’m already yearning for a slightly slower pace of life. I contemplate the far off reality of retirement with eager anticipation, but I’m in no rush to get there – just rushing in general.

Today on Facebook I read this beautiful post by The Life on Purpose Movement. It struck a chord. Then I commented “Goals.” right below it, and didn’t see the dichotomy of the image and my statement until later this afternoon to much amusement. Maybe it resonated so deeply because it’s such a deep seated need in so many of our lives.

This week we jumped back into life full swing. We’ve dealt with miscommunication, misspending, and mistakes. We’ve prepared to do lists, we’ve ticked off items, we’ve created (and veered from) meal plans. We’ve tried to balance family time, chauffeuring, volunteer commitments, friendships, household routine, and when we’re tired and frazzled and empty, our relationship and our alone time.

We’re no different than anyone else, but this frenetic, constant pace of life has left me empty. Not a soul-deep, heart shattering emptiness – but after giving (and biting my tongue and just listening) and living, even though our tanks started out so full, I’m running on fumes and it’s literally been a week. I need a moment to feel, to breathe, to find my feet again.

So, no, I haven’t made resolutions on a calendar – no weight goals, no lists, no accomplishments. Instead, I resolve to continue to strive to find a healthy balance. I continue to try to see more than a list of things to be done. I will continue to prioritize faith, family, and friendships. I will learn to speak up for myself (oh the value of “no” and “no, thank you!”) I will keep my ears open to listen to others and practice the pause before responding. (I’m sorry if I fail on this one and you get the sharp edge of my temper or my tongue.)

I will find grace to forgive myself in my mistakes. I will humbly apologize when I’ve messed up. I will grow. I will change. No doubt, I will generally stay the same, but hopefully improve each day by small interactions, little blessings, and finding quiet peace in cherished quiet moments.

So what’s my view for 2020? Here’s to a happier, healthier, still-the-same-at-heart me.

Strong Yet Tired

Have you seen the quote “She is strong, but she’s exhausted?” Lemme tell you…. sitting on my couch this Sunday evening, after being home for approximately .02 hours today, I can relate. I am strong. I am tired… bone deep, soul achingly tired. I have given 167% of myself to the caring of others and their projects over the last few days and I need to find some space before I can give again.

These crazy few days will be leading to a busy few weeks. My to-do list is getting longer instead of shorter. I’ve been juggling family concerns, trying to put out fires, and been juggling so many balls that I picked up someone else’s and didn’t even notice. (Apparently I was not scheduled to teach the children’s program at church this morning. I was convinced I had to squeeze it in. Oh sweet relief when my other team showed up!)

I know that I am not alone. Every mama trying to balance life will go through moments of utter exhaustion. So this week my floors may not get vacuumed as often, but the kids will have clean teeth. Our dinners may consist of more convenience food, but my family will be fed. The laundry may begin to pile up, but shorts will be washed for a March break trip with grandparents.

I may indulge in a takeout latte instead of making my own. I will carve out time for a book nap (you know, when you’re reading but your eyes get heavy so you sleep instead?) in the 15 minutes I’ll have before I have to pick up a kid from band practice. I will set a timer to leave the office when I am scheduled to because my health – physically and mentally – is more important than replying to 5 more emails. I will drink my water, get my steps in, and breathe deep when my eyes start to blur.

I am strong. I am tired. But I am also working to recharge because I want to be strong and lively. Strong and energetic. Strong and functional.

Strength is recognizing when our bodies are craving rest, our souls are craving silence, and our spirits are craving renewal. Strength means taking care of ouselves a moment, a day, a project at a time. Strength is replenishing ourselves before we run to nothing so we can once again give and live from our hearts. Strength comes from shoring up our foundations and leaning on those who support us when we’re too exhausted to stand on our own.

Where do you find strength when you are tired? Hold on tight, oh exhausted one… take each day at a time. Be strong.

Winter’s Tale

I am not the biggest fan of winter. For a Canadian girl living near the Great Lakes, I question how people survive the more extreme climates and entirely understand the snowbirds departure every fall. I truly must remember that every season has its perks and challenges.

The first glimpses of change with the pages turning on the calendar invoke awe and wonder – a sense of excitement with every new bud on a tree, the sun warm enough to lounge in, the leaves majestic in their autumn splendor. Unfortunately as the seasons progress we lose appreciation for the same things that once excited us.

The scent of a rainy spring day doesn’t evoke the urge to jump in puddles, but instead we complain about the mud. The warmth of the summer sun is no longer a blessing, but a curse as the sweat rolls off our brow. The golden foliage of fall becomes a reminder of dark and damp days. We crave a return to the season we left or impatiently wait for the next season’s arrival, hopelessly bound to that innate disastisfaction for where we are and we lose admiration for the season we’re in.

For me, winter is the hardest season. It’s cold, barren, bitter. The fresh crisp days and freshly fallen snow that made me exclaim in delight with the first arrival are no longer reflections of light and purity, but inconvenient, lonely and isolating. The pristine snow-covered fields are now windblown and stained, the days long in dreariness but short in warmth and sunlight.

But winter is necessary – as necessary as the sun in summer. In winter, nature is at rest. It’s completed its cycle of growth and productivity for another year and it replenishes as it prepares for the following spring. The trees are naked and ugly. The gardens are bare and useless. The ground is no longer lush and vibrant. While I enjoy short bursts outdoors to clear my mind and get fresh air, I tend to bury myself indoors and cocoon myself away bemoaning the forecast of ice and snow and frigid temperatures. However, all my useless complaints aside, the earth is healing and silently preparing for the changes to come in the near future.


As with every season, winter will not last forever – whether it’s the season on a calendar or a winter of your heart. The spring will return with signs of growth and beauty, blossoming into fullness and maturity and eventually preparing to rest once again.

Maybe you feel like you’re stuck in a season of winter. You feel isolated and barren. Your purpose seems lost. The days are long and dreary as you merely cycle through mindlessly waiting for some sign of life. You are weighted down by the mundane. But this season you’re in? It’s really a season of rest – a season vital to upcoming growth. Just accept that it’s a chance to recharge and replenish and find solace in solitude and strength in serenity before you face change once again.

Perhaps you don’t feel like your stranded in a season of cold and staleness. Perhaps you’re seeing the first inklings of a dream coming true and now impatiently want to see the full development. Or you’re thick in the midst of a project or stage that has you gasping for air and you crave a chance to cool down. Take note of the season you’re in and know that it too serves a purpose in a cycle of continuous maturing.

Appreciate the beauty of your season and wait with hope for each purposeful moment in the journey through spring showers, sun-drenched summer, autumn bounty, and even winter storms. Without winter, we have no spring, without spring, no summer… don’t lose delight in your season, but recognize it for the greater purpose it serves… as Ecclesiastes says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven;”