Thursday, May 15, 2008

May, The Midpoint

Welcome to all of you who stop by today from the P31 devotions. I hope you will come back to visit often!

I knew May was going to be a busy month for me, so I nearly shuddered as I turned the calendar page over from April. I wondered if I would be able to handle all I had committed to-- and if I would be able to actually do all I had committed to. I determined that, with God's help and strength, I could do exactly what He wanted me to do, no more and no less. And I set forth to do exactly that. I also determined not to get ahead of myself by looking at the big picture and instead to focus on each day as it came-- asking myself simply, "What do I need to do today?" And letting that calm me and keep me focused, lest I get overwhelmed and quit before I even start.

Here is what my month looked like: six speaking engagements, one book to finish, two proposals to write, a house to sell and a house to find, a second opinion with an orthodontist for my son, weekly weeding for the garden, a hair appointment (I cut it ALL off yesterday-- yes indeed I did!), a meeting about a co-op I want to do next year for homeschooling, swim team practices starting for four of our kids, rehearsals for a play starting for our oldest, a used curriculum sale to go to on the other side of town, a trip to our state homeschool conference with my husband, and a trip to FL for my niece's graduation/18th birthday party with my husband and two oldest children. All in one month. For someone who usually shies away from overcommitment and busyness, this was exceptional.

Needless to say, it was A LOT. And I doubted my own sanity for committing to it all. And yet, I had a strange peace about it running just under the surface. I knew that I was doing exactly what I was supposed to do and somehow it would just all work out. I didn't count on getting sick and losing basically a week of productivity. But I did count on making it to the other side of May-- some way, some how. As I pause to reflect on how the month of May has gone so far, I am satisified. One of my speaking engagements got deferred to my husband because I was too sick to do it. I couldn't have foreseen that. One of my speaking engagements got cancelled. I was relieved to have that off my plate at a time that I was craving a break. And my proposals have now been reduced to one sheets with my agent's blessing and encouragement to just do what I can.

In the midst of my busyness and unforeseen changes, moment by moment adjustments have been made. And, amazingly, it has all worked out. Like I said, with God's help and His strength. No more, no less. I knew that my job was to not hold onto the agenda or the goals too tightly-- to merely offer them up to Him daily and say, "Here's what I think You have called me to. What do You really want?" And then surrendering any designs or plans that might be solely mine and not His. Holding on loosely, but not letting go, in the words of the great philosophers, 38 Special.

And now I am through the most intense part and-- except for the book still needing to be finished-- the rest of the month is the fun stuff. The reward waiting at the end of the perseverance. A friend taught me long ago that having something to look forward to-- a beacon to focus on when you are in the tougher parts of life-- is so important. She taught me that deliberately putting something on the calendar you can look forward to will keep you moving ahead on the days when you wonder if you can. It might be just a small reward like a few hours blissfully alone at the local bookstore with a stack of great books and a Venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte. Or a big reward, like a much anticipated trip alone with your husband to the state homeschool conference. Either way, you are motivated to move forward, getting through the not-so-fun so you can get to the so-much-fun.

Do you need to schedule some fun in your life? Do you need to get out your calendar and pick a date to look forward to? I urge you to do this especially if you are in a place in life where just getting through each day is challenging-- this includes any mom who is home with small children day after day! I have found that giving myself permission to schedule fun into my life was a huge mindshift for me. I needed to do it, as it improved my outlook and my perspective. Perhaps you do, too? What is something fun you are looking forward to right now? Leave me a comment and let me know. And if you can't answer, get out your calendar and make something up! Ask your husband if he minds (this is important!), write it down in big RED letters and savor the anticipation. After all, sometimes the anticipation is the best part.

Proverbs 13:12, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."
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Bridget said...

Thanks for blogging! I found your blog through P31 last year after She Speaks. It really inspires me as a parent and homemaker...where I struggle.
My family and I are greatly anticipating a special vacation to Maui! God has truly blessed us with this through sky miles, hotel points, free dog sitting, free parking and I could go on forever how God has truly made this happen. There is no way we could do this on our own, so I'm anxiously awaiting how God will reveal himself there. Hopefully I'll be able to post some pics on my blog when we return.

Kelly said...

Hi Marybeth,
This week has been grinding at work and getting a new puppy has been fun but stressful (it's been a long time since I've been sleep-deprived!) I am looking forward to tomorrow as I am getting off work two hours early and going for a pedicure and manicure! I have been dreaming about it all week. We also are going to have one of our granddaughters spend the weekend. She is nine. If anyone has any fun suggestions of things to do I would greatly appreciate some ideas!
Thanks so much,
And prayers for your May and that you find the house to buy that you love!

Gwen Smith said...

Hey Girl!

God uses cars...and devotions!! I just prayed for you and am excited about the possibility of getting together for coffee next week with Bill. :0) Are you game for Thursday after he meets with your pastor? I need time to arrange kid stuff, so let me know as soon as you can.

Have a blessed day MaryBeth!


Starr said...

I so enjoyed your devotion today and traveled over here to read your blog. I have been overwhelmed myself this month. My oldest graduated from our home school high school. That was stressful both mentally and physically as I prepared to let go and plan his celebration with his graduation comrades. I am so looking forward to just having a break and spending some time with my husband. That is, IF I can get a weekend sitter for our 5 year old ! LOL! A trip to the mountains sounds really nice. That is our couple get away place. We need to get that on the calendar soon.
Thanks for your inspiring words today.
Love and Blessings,

M. Milbourn said...

Hey Friend,

I spent the morning shooting a commercial in a town about 40 miles away from my office. On the drive back into the office, I kept seeing a make of car that one of my friends drives. Over and over again, I would pass this particular make of automobile. So I prayed for this couple. When I got back to the office I opened your devo…how confirming. Thanks for sharing.

Tammy Nischan said...

I loved your devotion today! I feel like a kindred spirit to you in so many ways...I hope we get to meet in June at the She Speaks conference.

I am sending my note to say "thank you" and to also ask you to keep my son Nick in your prayers as you drive or brush your teeth or whatever makes you think of Nick! He has just been diagnosed with another brain tumor. He is 12 (13 next Thursday). Since he was 7, he has had 5 brain tumors and one tumor on his spine. He is a miracle, though, and such a light to our community and really to many all over the world!

Please pray that he will continue to feel peace and that my husband and I, as well as our other kids, will continue to stay strong for him. My heart is aching.

You can see his precious face on my blog if that will help you to pray more specifically!

Love you and thank you,

tiggerdaisy said...

I'll come back later today and comment...BUT I would really like to see the new hair do!!!!! Please update your post with PICTURES! :)


Alyce said...

Hey Marybeth..I really enjoyed your devotion today! Its so true. I can say that I don't have intercessory prayer enough.
As far as making time for something fun.. My husband and I are in the process of trying to plan a camping trip with the kids. Not in a camper a tent. Ha..its going to be a riot. Y'all please pray that we can find a good campground on Mem. weekend..alot seems to be booked up!
We are looking forward to making some fun memories with our kids on this trip!

Lori said...

Loved the devotion and I really enjoy your blog, but I want to see the new hair do!

Bonita said...

This was a great blog post for me to read as I head into what looks to be a couple of extremely busy months. It's interesting though that I feel more calm that I normally would under the circumstances. I had grand plans of all the things I'd finish before the busy season hit and much of it hasn't been done, but I think what needed to be done did get done and the rest was just my "agenda".

Right now I'm savoring the small things at they come my way and trying to be a little more spontaneous- strawberry picking, a Sunday afternoon at the amusement park, a quick lunch with cousins- those types of things. However, I do have on the calendar to take a day or two off when I return from my speaking trips to recover from jet lag and just the general stress of it all. But when August comes I'm taking the whole month to rest and relax and I'm not doing anything unless three angels with flaming swords appear before me, Billy Graham stops by for afternoon tea, and a donkey speaks, and even then I might doubt that God was wanting me to get up and do something!

Kelley said...

AAAAHHH! Even the "Fun Stuff" feels like a chore at this point! I'm just taking it one day and one event at a time. Hopefully I won't forget anything or let anyone down. May is CRAZY!! I am looking forward to June...

Michelle said...

Right now, I'm excited about taking my first trip with a passport next Friday. I will be in Ireland for a week. It is for business. I will miss my family terribly, but I'm looking forward to the adventure, seeing some old friends and spending some time alone reading and writing. I am going to try to blog from there also.

Sonya said...

Thank you for this sweet blog for any mom who is over committed out there! (That's probably most of us!) God also knew this which is why He told us:

Mat 6:34 "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."

Amy Wyatt said...

Can't wait to see your haircut! Sounds like your calendar is like mine. Greg and I are headed on an anniversary trip the end of the month so I am looking forward to it. It's getting me through the rest of the craziness.
BTW... every time I listen to my Ipod, I pray for you and Curt and your family :)