Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer Swan Song

So, today is the day. The last day of summer. Precious summer, the season that teachers and children spend the rest of the year waiting for, and it is coming to a close for this year. Just so that I don't (ever!) come across as one of those perfect moms who has all of her stuff together all of the time, I wanted to give you a little reflection of my summer.

It was a short summer for our family this year, not for me, but for Adam. The past two weeks since he has been back have been tough, not because he's working and I'm not, but because they've been so imbalanced. My work is looming in the foreground while his is already going full-throttle. That has been tough. On top of that, my father-in-law graciously came in and helped us put in a new bathtub and shower: not an easy job at all. The shower is almost usable (yay!), and I am completely ready for this small portion of our summer to be over.

We didn't do nearly as much as we set out to do this summer. I think, from reading other people's Facebook posts, that I am not alone in feeling this sentiment. I think that summer in this regard is like Christmas, where it is so easy to have unrealistically high expectations and plans and then be disappointed when those things don't all happen. We want everything to be the perfect mix of busy and relaxing, and the balance between those two is hard to find.

There were many things we did do, though, and this is what I keep reminding myself. The kids did take swimming lessons, and they wore us all out (the lessons, not the kids!). We worked VBS. Charlotte got to go to Sports Camp. We visited our parents in Ohio. We went to the library. We didn't relax very much, but the different kind of busyness is a very nice change in the summer.

Another one of my teacher friends says that she enjoys getting back to the routine and schedule of the school year. That is something that I think most of us can appreciate. If it were summer forever, then we wouldn't appreciate it nearly as much. We need routine and so do our kids. So I think that, this year, I am content to bid adieu to summer and welcome the school year.

Check back next week to see our family's Back-To-School celebration on my first day of school. Soli Deo Gloria, y'all.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ground Warfare

My apologies, dear readers, for not having written in a while. I have two sweet weeks of summer left, and I have been trying to squeeze the most out of them. My husband goes back to school this coming Monday (boo!), so my summer will mostly end then.

What I want to write about and encourage you in is not an original concept; the title of it actually came from this book, Date Your Wife by Justin Buzzard, which my husband adores. The term can mean many things, especially in a spiritual context. I've heard raising children, for instance, be described as warfare, specifically against the sin that wants to take over our children (Voddie Baucham). But for this post, I mean something a little less eternal in scope when I talk about ground warfare.

In Buzzard's book, he uses the term ground warfare to describe planning out your week as a couple. Actually sitting down together with planners and calendars and agendas and figuring out what is going on at the beginning of each week. Scheduling time to be a couple, sure, but also making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to dinners, picking up kids and who's giving baths to name a few things. It is this idea of ground warfare that I want to encourage you in today.

I'm a planner, and I am better when I am busy. Oh, I moan and complain about being busy, for sure, but I much prefer busy seasons to quiet ones. If you've ever heard the maxim that if you want something done, you should give it to a busy person to do, that busy person is me. But in my busyness, I do not appreciate surprises. I make my menu every weekend, and there is no deviation from that menu during the week unless some sort of catastrophe strikes. I drop my daughter off at preschool and my husband takes my son to daycare. Adam walks the dog in the morning. I feed the dog. Routine, routine, routine. That is part of what makes our crazy life function. Take the menu, for example. When I didn't make a menu (and I can't believe that there was a time in my life when I didn't), we were significantly more likely to either a) eat the same things over and over again or b) eat out. Giving the menu structure, however, helped to vary our meals and keep us from the temptation of eating out on a whim. My husband has an hour long drive home every day, and he is far less likely to be tempted by all of the fast food places that he passes if he knows exactly what will be waiting for him when he gets home.

This weekend, I encourage you to sit down with your husband and do ground warfare: plan out this week. Is it busy or calm? Is someone working late and when? Are any guests coming over for dinner? Who's got the kids when? Is there something special or not special going on with you as a couple? Plan it out, and then carry out the plan. I know, my free spirits, that this is not very much fun. Where's the spontaneity? Well, let me remind you of two things. Number one, I have two small children. Spontaneity, in my experience, does not favor small children. They need consistency and predictability. My husband, to a degree, needs consistency and predictability. In part of managing my home, I need to instill those things. Number two, our God is not a God of chaos. He works in perfect order and rhythm, doing things consistently according to His character. To see this, just look at the creation of the world. It was not done on a whim, with some animals created one day before the sun and the moon were created. Everything was done in order. Knowing that my home should reflect my God, I want there to be order.

Is it always perfect? Dear reader, of course not! Teaching is a very unpredictable profession to be in on a daily basis, so yes, sometimes the plan falls apart. Do emergency things need to be done sometimes that are not part of the plan? Of course! Do we have impromptu dinner guests from time to time? Sure, but not usually on a school night. The point is that the plan was there to begin with, and then we get to decide whether or not it is altered.

Try ground warfare this week, and definitely check out Date Your Wife for your husband. Soli Deo Gloria, y'all.