January 12, 2012

i cycle.

the older i get (yes, i am the big 3-4), the more i see patterns in my life.
i am beginning to recognize life's seasons
and to flow with or through the cycle instead of buck against them.
i have learned to find joy in summer fun and peace in winter hibernation.
i love the quote by William Blake, 
"In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy."

i have felt a gratitude cycle.
times when i am feeling abundant, blessed, grateful and generous.
during these seasons my prayers are overflowing with gratitude... tears come quickly to my eyes as i think of all that my Father in Heaven has blessed me with.
There are other times when i am feeling sparse, jealous, wanting and needy.
during these seasons my planner is full of lists- things i need for me and my family.
i feel overwhelmed with an inability to have enough, enough time, enough money, enough sleep, etc., etc.
everything is heavy and just out of reach.
surprisingly, i have learned that often my season of wanting comes during a time when i really do need something.
when i tell myself that i should just be grateful for what i have, that i'm too worldly and ungrateful... my feelings of discontent grow.  
like i'm telling my hungry body to diet... food becomes and obsession.
if i respond differently...
if i feel myself wanting and i trust myself.
i trust that i am good, that my desires are good, and that i have a Father in Heaven who wants to bless me with everything that i desire that is good.
when i am patient and prayerful and give myself permission to want...
i see the windows of heaven open.
God blesses me with ALL my wants or in time He changes my heart so i don't want anymore.
when i give my wants to Him, instead of hide them from him, i slide naturally and gently into a season of abundance and gratitude.
i love this cycle.
and this quote by George Santayana,
"To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring."
I have also recognized a cycle of discipline.
there are distinct seasons of my life when i am prompted to be firm, disciplined, structured, ordered, strict, and consistent with my children.
i see example of really great mothers around me who are very disciplined and i want to be more like them.
i become more consistent with chores and accountability, reverence and teaching.
i limit screen time.
i crave schedules and routine.
i hear my Father whispering for me to sign my kids up for piano lessons or teaching me the goodness that comes from them being a part of a team.  
this season of my life is almost always followed by a season of relaxed, gentle, unstructured, simple, emotional, tenderness.
i am continually prompted to be still, to really see my children, to forget the schedule and enjoy the moment, to slow down, to come home, to enjoy and not to enforce.
i see examples all around me of mothers who are loving and kind and gentle and i want to be more like them.
i become more inconsistent with chores and more consistent with loving kindness.
my home is messier, my creativity is greater, my kids play more and work less.
i begin to hibernate at home and crave days filled with family and no outside contact.
i hear my Father whispering, love them more, enjoy them more, this time is short, they are OK just the way they are... read more stories, make more messes, let them be little, love them imperfect.
i LOVE this cycle.
there are other cycles i experience...
the cycle of intimacy or closeness with my spouse, family, friends.
that continual drifting apart and pulling closer together.
we have a "come to Jesus" talk and wonder when we drifted apart and how we can stay close.
and then we remember... that is the state of things... and continual waxing and waning.
as long as we're not DAMNED, we are good.
it is beautiful.
the cycle of service.
being focused on home and family, feeling the urge to reach out, reaching too far, coming home.
it is life.
the cycle of creation or decoration.
times when i am immersed in the joy of creating, making beautiful, using my gifts and talents. 
days when my family eats hot dogs and mac n cheese while i sew quickly and bask in a room full of goodness, late nights and beautiful mess.
my home is transformed, pictures re-hung, centerpieces slightly altered.
i notice beauty in the details and my life smiles with my creation
and, there are times when i need to pack up my craft room and create a healthy meal.
times when my house decor fades into the background.
my focus is who is sitting on my couch not what the pillows look like.
i go months without making a single thing.
the cycle of friendship and social life.
months where we invite people over often, we make new friends, we serve, we party, we attend.
our car is messy and our home is full.
and there are months where we are quiet homebodies living in our jammies...
(ok, maybe not months... but weeks.)

the cycle of order.
times when i am ok with dressers packed tightly and times where i overhaul, purge, re-label and donate.
cycles of order do not mean that i am unorganized.
even organized people have times of re-organization.

i even read in cycles.

in the past i have felt guilty for my cycles.
i have felt that my need for continual re-evaluation was a sign of my inability to ever get it right.
i have looked back at blogs i have written "teach your children" and thought, "oh, i was WRONG, just LOVE them."
and then i laugh.
the older i have gotten the more i have realized that God rarely says "NO" or "WRONG" or "NEVER"
He usually says, "NOT NOW."
He usually tells me, "Try this today..."  
NOT, "Yesterday you were dumb."
perhaps while i am swinging there are those who are enjoying life calmly in the middle ground.
perhaps there are those who are forever spring.
but, i cycle.
and in the midst of my inability to control the weather, i have learned to listen to the weather man.
i have learned to recognize the storm clouds in the distance.
i've learned to pull back a little.
grab an umbrella.
plan a date.
read another story.
skip nap time.
make a list.
empty out a closet.
pull out a project i've been dreaming of.
cancel a commitment.
remember last year
and ENJOY where i'm at.

life is about learning and growth.
weathering each new season with dignity and diligence.
today, i feel a spark of creation growing 
(more of a quilt-y/crafty spark than a living, breathing, not sleeping spark)  :)
today, i feel a call to slow down.
today, i feel a call to serve.
today, i feel a tug towards my ancestors...
today, i want to be purposeful in my travel and enjoy my stays at home.
 i am grateful for the seasons of my life.

Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.
Chinese Proverb


Tiffany said...

Mmmm... love this!!!! I really like the quote you included, but I LOVE the thought you put into this one. It just feels RIGHT. Thank you, thank you! (I esp. like the part where you say that God doesn't tell you, "You were dumb yesterday." If He doesn't think that... why do I let myself think it about ME?!?)

GREAT post! :-)

Tiffany said...

Oh, I meant "quotes", not "quote"!

Harmony said...

I recently came across your blog on pinterest. Someone had posted your chore chart. I am now ADDICTED to your blog. It my new FAVORITE blog. Thank You for writing it. It makes me laugh, cry, nod my head in agreement, think, relax, and love.

Marie said...

You did it again, Jen... You got inside our heads and our hearts and shared EXACTLY what we needed to hear today! Yay for seasons and cycles!!! :)

jenifer said...

Thank you kind friends... Nice to meet you harmony! Please consider yourself someone sitting next to me in Sunday school!
Yeah, I really like this concept, I really feel goodness in allowing for the ebbs and flows of life.
BUT... There is a chance that I am just bipolar and in need of serious medication... In that case, please ignore my admission of a cyclical life.
AND... I do think that the more I learn to recognize gentle promptings the more I am able to self correct and avoid drastic cyclical overhauls...
Oh, life is good.

Lisa said...

i think we are the same person. as i read your words about your different cycles, it is as if they are coming from my brain. reading it tonight-coming from someone other than me-has helped me know that i am not just a failure and that i'm not unstable. i just CYCLE!! :)

Angela said...

I never post on a strangers blog infact I rarley read them. But tonight after a very long wonderful and emotional day i sat down checked a freinds blog and here was your link. Thank you for what you shared for who you are. Your truly amazing I love the ease that I feel when i read you words. I so related to those seasons, I just cryed my eyes out. So thank you for touching my heart on mother to another. angela

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