I watched her as she worked, looking carefully at each piece and placing it firmly on the mat. She grew frustrated at times, but she kept moving forward.
Piece by piece, the puzzle came together, until she finally got to the very last one. A look of surprise fell over her face as she placed it carefully on the mat.
And then she smiled . . .
. . . and looked up at me to see if I had seen what she had done all by herself. Her face lit up, and she gleamed with excitement as she stretched her arms out in the air.
“Woo hoo!” she exclaimed in victory as we celebrated together.
It was a brief moment, but it was magical. I was there. I saw her complete this puzzle by herself for the very first time. I was in the moment with her. And it was amazing.
As the new year comes upon me, it is my prayer and hope that I can remember moments like this one and use them as inspiration for the ones to come. I want to be present, to live my life meaningfully. These are five areas I hope to grow into the new year.
1. Be present. Whether I am spending time with my husband, with our children, or with friends or family, or enjoying a cup of cocoa as I write, doing my devotionals, or exercising, I want to be present. I want to be in the action, enjoying whatever it is I am doing. I don’t want to be physically in one place while my mind is off in another, getting to the “bottom of the bowl” only to find that I can’t remember how any of it tasted. Oh no! I will be mentally engaged in whatever it is I am doing.
2. Avoid distractions. This one will be a bit more challenging for me as I am often involved in some sort of multi-tasking. If I’m truly honest, however, it’s not always meaningful tasks that I’m “tasking”. Sometimes it’s the internet that pulls me away from my duties, a phone call, or a project I just really want to get done at that moment. Other times, I am divided when I overload my schedule and frantically try to get it all done . . . with two kids in tow. It usually doesn’t end well.
For this one, I’m going to try and “schedule” times throughout the day or week for not only my family events but those small things that also bring me joy, like the internet, phone calls and projects. I’m going to simplify our extracurricular activities so that we’re not driving from one place to the next every. single. day. of. the. week. No, it isn’t what the “world” tells us to do. “The more you do, the better!” Not at all. This comes from the quiet place inside me that seeks peace in Him. Yes, I’m going to simplify things a bit in hopes of honing in on what is truly important.
3. Pay attention. Oh, goodness! It sometimes amazes me how I can be in the same house with my children all day every day and not notice some of their wonderful gifts. Yes, we all need that quiet time or break to just let our children be so that we can take care of our other responsibilities, but I don’t want to enjoy so many of these daily “vacations” only to find that I missed some really neat things about my children.
The other day I peeked in and just watched them in their rooms. Our three-year-old daughter was lying in her bed with her new book, flipping through the pages and reciting a made-up story to herself. Our six-year-old son was drawing our family in rocket ships headed off to space. Why didn’t I know that my son could draw really neat rockets?
How many times have I shooed them off as they tried to show me their latest project just so I could get that last email out? Not anymore! I am going to focus more and take moments throughout the day to just observe and listen. Truly listen.
Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all if has always been big stuff. –Catherine M. Wallace
I want to SEE the people in my life. I want to notice them and know them. I want to embrace the beautiful soul of my husband and the smile on his face when he walks through the door each evening after work. I want to soak in the laughs of our children and the silly songs they sing that bring them such joy. I want to open my heart to the thoughtful ways my parents, mother-in-law, siblings and friends reach out to show us they care through sweet gifts and acts of service. I want to see it all and absorb every last bit of it into my heart.
4. Be emotionally and spiritually involved. Emotions and spirituality are what bring meaning to the mundane. Anyone can change a baby’s diaper, but only a mother, father, or guardian can do it with an overflowing of love, a smile that speaks to Baby’s heart, a song that soothes a baby’s spirit. It is love, hope, joy, peace, grief, sadness, etc. that create this wonderful experience we call life.
Too often, I believe, we are numbed through virtual outlets, letting go of what it truly means to be human. We run to escape or fill our schedules so much so that we are cruising through events, missing out on the purpose behind it all.
I will let myself feel. I will pray for God’s guidance so that all that I do is in accordance with His will. I will lift up the cleaning, the cooking, the training, and everything in between–all for His glory.
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.–Ecclesiastes 2:24.
5. Reflect. The last thing I want to make sure to do every now and then is take time to reflect and give thanks for the blessings that can sometimes be overlooked or taken for granted. I want to take time to capture more moments through photography, not allowing “getting the right shot” to become more important than just “getting the shot.” I want to keep up with our albums and write more about the little details that make up the best parts of my day.
At the very least, I want to lift up daily prayers of praise as I sit back each day and thank God for all of the moments: the moments that take my breath away; the moments that push me to grow a bit more; the moments that bit-by-bit make up my story, my life. I want to live every part of it . . . in the moment.
Yes, as Tennyson once wrote, “I will live life to the lees.” Bring on the moments, 2015! I am ready to live them!
Linking Up at: My Joy Filled Life, A Mama’s Story, What Joy is Mine, Cornerstone Confessions, Epic Mommy Adventures, Raising Homemakers, My Daily Walk in His Grace,Missional Women, Christian Mommy Blogger, The Jenny Evolution, Life of Faith