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Springing Forward

I have been writing here for over five years.

Writing in this space has motivated me and changed me. It's has shaped a part of who I am. 

I just wanted to say thank you. If you've been reading for awhile or just found me recently, I truly appreciate all your comments, whether online or in person. 

The past two months have been slow on writing, mostly due to the fact that typing with my broken wrist was pretty much a no-go. Then life got crazy and we had several doctors trips and even another emergency room visit, so things got pushed aside.

But here we are at the end of March and heading straight into Spring. The days are getting longer, and as everyone else is celebrating it, I am mourning the end of early nights around the dinner table and babies being tucked into bed before eight o'clock.

But life moves forward and I am learning to accept it, because each moment is temporary.

Breaking my wrist and being forced to slow down has taught me so many lessons, in a really short amount of time. It was a crash course in humility, dependency, and pacing myself.

I now know that sometimes strength doesn't come from within, but it comes from learning that you cannot do it alone and being strong enough to ask for help. I have learned that that things you thought were tough, like caring for four kids, can actually be much harder; like caring for four kids while nursing a broken wrist.

Life ebbs and flows. There has been broken bones, illness, death, stitches, heart ache, sleepless nights, and exhausting days. There has also been laughter, baby kisses, blue skies, and long slow walks.

There is hurt and there is joy. It is not an either/or situation. Life is about embracing both. Overwhelmed and happy. Hurt and love. Pain and peace. You can experience both within hours of one another, sometimes minutes.

It's ok to feel the hard stuff, to cry and scream, to laugh when we can, cry when we need to, but we have to keep moving.

I realized the other day that this is the first time in over three years that I am not either pregnant, or have a baby under six months old in the house. It is such a freeing thought.

I am beginning to dream about what is possible now that we head into a new stage of life. But whatever happens, I know that it will look nothing like what I expect. I believe that expectations are the worst thing we can do to ourselves, because nothing ever turns out like we expected.

Really think about it, when was the last time you fussed over something, poured yourself into it, and had it turn out just the way you planned? The answer for me, is never.

Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don't, but either way plans change. Often when goals are met, it took the long way around to get there, and it looked nothing like what you had planned.

So I am heading into this new season of life with goals and lists, and hopes and dreams, but I've let go of the expectations of what accomplishing those things is going to look like. 

My whole life I have leaned toward the tendency to look to the future in hopes that when I get 'there' I will be satisfied.

In high school I looked to college for happiness, college found me looking for Mr. Right to complete me, Mr. Right left me looking for kids to fulfill me, kids left me looking for sleep to feel normal. And on and on it went, this vicious cycle that 'someday' I would be satisfied.

But over the past years, and especially the past couple of months, I have been turning inward and looking for something deeper to satisfy. And what I have found, is that the more grateful I am for the life God has given me right now, the less I find myself wanting more.

I look at the daily, mundane, boring things, and consider how lucky I am to have the simple pleasures of life. A safe home, family, food, people who love me... can it really just be that simple?

I will keep dreaming, planning, and setting goals, but I know that those are just a bonus. The real stuff, the good stuff, the stuff life is made of; my faith, my friends, and my family, that is satisfying.

Dream big, reach high, but don't forget to take the time to look around at where you are right now. Savor the small stuff, the ordinary, the simple. Soak up the warmth of the sunshine, marvel in the colors of the sunset, breathe in the air of the seasons, it is all so simple and yet so satisfying.

Life is not about accumulation, it's not about accomplishments, its not about checking off your list. It is about embracing the moment, the good and the bad, taking it all in and being grateful for the fact that you have been given another day to feel it.

I don't want to wait for something truly devastating to happen to remind me of how wonderful being alive is. I don't want to wait for a cancer diagnosis, or the sudden loss of a loved one to spur me to appreciate the people around me. I don't want to wait till I am old and look back on youth and see that I wasted it.

Breaking my wrist didn't give me some great wisdom, or change my flaws. I am still impatient. I still yell easily, and too often. I still am behind on housework. I am a mess most days, the me who use to be five minutes early for everything, is now usually five minutes late. That still bothers me.

Messes still drive me crazy and repeating myself five times before I am heard makes me want to scream. I am not pretending I am a saint. The old stressors are still stressors, but I don't let it ruin my whole day. I take them for what they are, a tiny irritant, I react to them, they make me mad or they don't, but either way I am learning to move on. I don't have it all figured out, and I never will.

I just know that I want to live a life of gratitude that casts a glow of appreciation on all that surrounds me. Gratitude that turns the mundane into blessings, that turns the hard times into sympathy for others going through trials.

I want to gather up every person in my life and take them by the face and look them in the eye and tell them how special they are. Right now, today.

It's ridiculously simple when you stop to think about it. Every cliché about time flying by, and taking life for granted, carpe diem, etc, it really does apply.

Life never goes as expected.

Go live the cliché.


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