I think I'm going to try to participate in Reverb10 this year. Basically, the idea behind it is to write every day about what your 2010 was like and envision what you want 2011 to look like through a series of writing prompts. I dig that. So here's the first prompt....I'm a day late....the story of my life....
December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)
I chose one word for this year. It was "Streamlined." I wanted our life to stay mainly the same, and the details to be come easier, more streamlined. What I wanted was not exactly what I got. Some of my life stayed the same, and I tried to make some of the details easier, but our life changed a lot this year. The funniest thing was, we didn't have any major, life-altering events that you would expect would come with a year of changes - no moving, no babies, no illnesses, no career changes. I guess that was what was the most frustrating thing for me. On the outside, life looked the same, but on the inside, there were changes that were - for a lack of a better term - kicking my butt.
I guess if I have to pick a word for this year, it would be adjustment, although that sounds like a chiropractor. I just opened up my online thesaurus and some of the other words that came up were much more appealing - fine-tuning, modification, improvement, enhancement. Enhancement, I like that last one. I think that's in the middle of what we're experiencing. If you've ever done a home improvement, or any kind of improvement project for that matter, you know that sometimes it gets worse before it gets better, and I think that describes where we are.
First, let me talk about the kids. They are growing like weeds, physically, spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally. (does that sound like Luke 2:52) With this growth comes adjustments in how I love on and teach the kids. They are all learning so much in school and from each other. #1 is reading and #2 and #3 know all their letters and are working on sounds. For me, that means I've had to carve out time for them - to read to them and to do projects with them to take advantage of this new curiosity. They also want to do more things and have more independence. Some of those things are easier than others. For instance, #1 and #2 both wanted to play flag football at church. Dad was their coach, and they were very able to get their things together for practice and games and run to their practice spots. Easy. Another easy thing was that they want to help clean (sometimes), so whenever they want to help with something I'm doing, I let them, and I don't obsess too much about the details. ("You want to clean the toilet? Go for it!") The only time I really get on them is when they say they're going to do something and then they don't do it. That's not ok. Probably the hardest thing is that they all have a little bossy streak in them. It most likely comes from the fact that both my main squeeze and I have pretty strong personalities, and we are both leaders in our own right. We're trying to teach the kids to talk to each other with respect, and to recognize when they are in a leadership role and when they are not. We practice a lot. It's getting better. It's not there yet.
Now, let's look at me personally. It's hard to do that without talking about my main squeeze. He's still in the same position at the same church we've been serving in for - gosh - almost 7 years. His job description is the same, but what his daily job entails is changing - the ministry is always growing, the students ebb and flow, the people who work alongside of us come and go. Some transitions are easier than others. Because we work together so closely in ministry, I feel those changes. Working closely with my husband is a blessing and a curse. When things go well, we rejoice together. When he experiences a setback, it can devastate me. People tell me that I can't take it that personally, but I do. I can't not. How can I feel the unending, compassionate love of Christ for people, and not feel it when they experience a spiritual setback? I know there's gotta be another preacher's wife out there who's felt this, right?
A big change for us this year is that we have taken on a part time job. Since my main squeeze completed his master's degree, he's been looking for a way to teach online college classes. We finally found a fit. He loves interacting with the students in the discussion forums and challenging them about their faith. Whenever I can, I help him with the grading. It is a bit taxing on our already short amount of time, and for a while I wondered if it was worth the time we were putting into it. But slowly, I can see the benefit a little extra cash has had in our personal economy. This year is the first we will have less debt after Christmas than we did before (if all goes as planned.) For me, this is the glimmer I'm holding onto. Remember the reference to the home improvement project that is worse before it looks amazing? I'm starting to see glimpses of what our future will look like as a result of this change - this enhancement. I'm confident I'll see results in other areas too.
As far as next year goes, I'm toying with a few ideas for a word to describe the year. Health is one - I'd love to lose some weight and add some other healthy habits. I want to see the results of the work I'm doing personally and with the kids - some completion or closure. I hate the word closure. I'm in the mood to redecorate - not just for the sake of making my house look different, but when I look at my house there are things I love, and things I tolerate. I want to love it, to savor and relish being at home. Savor, that's a good word.