Note: I usually only share this post on my blog (Boondock Ramblings) but thought I’d share it with my subscribers here on Substack too this week.
I am back this week for Saturday Afternoon Chat and I am sipping peppermint tea but later I’m sure I’ll be drinking cool water as our temperatures are supposed to be higher today than they were yesterday and Thursday.
As I am writing this, The Husband and Little Miss are at gymnastics and I am taking a little bit of what I guess I would call self-care time.
This is the first time in – um – a long time that I have had any time alone to write or think or just decompress. I seriously do not even remember the last time I had a break when it was daylight out without people and animals all around me, coming in and out of the house, looking for attention or needing something.
This past week was very busy but not busy with going places. It was busy with being outside or washing dishes or trying to clean things out or, quite frankly, it was busy in my mind. My mind has been racing 1,000 miles a minute, sometimes a second, these days.
It’s racing over my parent’s health issues, my kids growing up, homeschooling, me trying to help the family financially while also trying to have fun with some side activities like writing, photography, and designing, knowing I need to spend time with my husband, my kids, my parents and feeling like there isn’t enough of me to go around.
I’m finding it hard to simply sit and listen to my own thoughts and try to find some balance in the midst of all the chaos. I’m struggling to find moments of peace in the chaos, something I plan to write about later this week.
Right now the house is silent. The dog is asleep on the ottoman and outside my window there is one lone bird not exactly chirping, but sort of calling. There isn’t even a truck grinding its brakes down the hill like it so often is during other quiet times I’ve been able to grab in the past.
My soul has been craving it.
Not long stretches of quiet because then I feel off-centered and lost and melancholy as I long for the presence of my family – even if they are loud at times and need a lot of attention. I want to give that attention. The majority of the time I want them around me because if they aren’t then I feel like life is incomplete.
Sometimes, though, I need even a half hour of quiet so I can think and remember how much I need the everyday noise and hustle and bustle because without it that would mean that those who are most precious to me are no longer part of my life. If they were no longer here then I would no longer be here because they are what give me a purpose to create and live.
I need a quiet moment to close my eyes and breathe in the peace of God and remind myself that I am not alone in all my fears, worries, and apprehensions, I am not alone with my racing thoughts. God is here even in the chaos, even in the fear, even in the anxiety that tries to take me over.
So today I will take a moment of quiet while everyone is gone and just soak in all the goodness that is my life, repelling thoughts of all the bad that I think my life produces or is filled with.
When I forget how great my life is in the overall, grand scheme of things, song lyrics from a song by Wes King from the 1990s comes to mind.
“Life is precious. Life is sweet. Like the earth beneath my feet. And his truth makes it complete. Knowing Jesus died for me, life is precious, life is sweet.”
Earlier this week Little Miss and I spent hours of our afternoons on the neighbor’s trampoline. I can’t lie. I didn’t enjoy it as I should have. I was resentful. I wanted to finish revising the book I’m writing. I wanted to read. I wanted to have “me time.” And I felt selfish about that.
I felt like I should be enjoying every moment with my daughter because before I know it she will be grown up and moved out and I will have all the free time I want but I won’t want it. All I will want is time with my children back again.
So, I felt my resentment for a little bit, pouted some, and even flounced a little.
But then I worked on just enjoying that time with her, watching her jump and do flips, and seeing how much she’s grown physically and skill-wise in the last year.
Yes, I worked on it. I chose joy when I didn’t feel it because sometimes, we have to do that and, you know what? I did soon feel joy and I felt a slow rhythm return to my soul that I needed. I had been rushing and trying to do too much at once and I feel like God knew I needed that slowed-down time to just be in one moment and not ten at once.
Yesterday the local homeschool group met at an alpaca farm about an eight-minute drive from our house and then stopped for some ice cream at the restaurant where my son is now washing dishes a few times a week.
Little Miss loved the alpacas and kept feeding them the carrots that the owners had cut up for the kid’s visit. She fed them so many I thought they might start spitting them back at her, but they seemed as thrilled with her feeding them as she was to feed them. She stayed with them long after the other kids had gotten bored and wandered off to the little shop the farm has and the woods around it.
After the farm visit and ice cream, there was a Mother’s Day craft at the library. Then it was time to go home and cook dinner and wash some dishes.
Speaking of dinner, lately Little Miss has wanted to make special sauces for dinner, and one might last week she made an amazing cheese sauce to go with our dinner of chicken and rice. Another night she made a similar cheese sauce for our dinner of sausages and egg noodles (though I had rice with mine). The sauce was so good and I saved some to have with my lunch yesterday. I told her it is now her job to make cheese, or another sauce, for family dinners. She’s very excited about this prospect. My only issue will have to be making sure that she doesn’t get so excited she tries to do too much by herself and accidentally burns or cuts herself. She is sometimes impatient waiting for Mom to help so she jumps ahead and does it herself. This can be a good and a bad thing.
I was worried one day when she was making the sauce because I said it was cutting into our homeschool time.
“Is this sort of homeschool? Teaching me about cooking?”
As usual she’s quicker on the uptake than I am.
So, yes, we treated it as a time to learn and it removed the guilt from this homeschool mom.
Today Little Miss has a friend who is going to come to play, which will probably mean more time on the trampoline.
I don’t mind. This hour break has helped me have a little “me time.” Even the short break is so rejuvenating for my spirit. (Doesn’t that just sound so dramatic? “It’s so rejuvenating for my spirit!” *snort* I sound like I’m in one of those YouTube videos with the guitar music and some girl in an old-fashioned dress skipping through a field of tulips.)
In all this rambling, I forgot to mention that our tulips and our lilacs are blooming. The lilacs smell so amazing! Last night I had to go search for our youngest cat who has been staying out past curfew lately and when I opened the back door the amazing sweet smell of the lilacs hit me.
We used to have a very small bush by our garage and a larger bush that is growing in the middle of a tree on the top of the hill behind the house. This year the smaller bush by the garage is much larger than t had been, and an even smaller bush is growing next to the fence next to the house. I don’t remember that bush last year but It is very welcome to stay there and bloom. I should probably cut some of the bushes back but I love to see plants grow naturally. That’s one reason why I have never cut back our wild rose bush. Well, that and the fact our neighbor, who told me the bush is over a hundred years old, said that when her landscapers trimmed her wild rose bush (which was grown from a section of our bush), it stopped blooming as well.
I look forward to those wild roses blooming every year. When they first start to appear, pure joy settles in my chest and then spills outward through giddy giggles. I’ll see them through the kitchen window and go grab the camera to take a hundred photographs of them. A hundred photographs I used to have no idea what I had the use for other than to look at during the winter months when everything is so drab. This past week, though, I decided I can use some of those photographs for journals I am developing.
Speaking of photographs (yes, “speaking of” are the words for the day, apparently), I failed a bit on my Photo a Day in May challenge. I literally forgot about the challenge for nine days, but when I remembered I picked up my camera and took several photos of the lilac bushes and Little Miss jumping. I am not trying to remember to take my camera with me everywhere I go so I can pause a moment in the craziness and photograph something that catches my eye.
As I’ve said before, photography helps to slow me and my mind down, which is one reason I wanted to do this challenge.
Since I missed several days of the challenge, I am going to try to stretch it into June as well.
To end my post (since I think I hear my husband and daughter coming in now) here are a few photos I’ve taken for the challenge so far in May. I’m sure I’ll share a separate post later in the week with one for each day.
How about you? How was your week last week? Have you found any new teas to drink? Let me know in the comments!