Monday, February 29, 2016

Busy Seasons and Space to Breathe




My Sweet Girls,

It's Monday morning, and I've just finished feeding your brother some breakfast.  I'm sitting here reflecting on our morning, now that I've ushered all of my babes out the door.

You missed the bus, Jyll, because it's picture day and you were committed to showering and blow-drying your hair until it layed stick-straight around your beautiful face.  "It looks more blonde when I blow it out," you told me.  This is quite the shift from your typical morning routine, which usually involves laying in bed until the last possible second, slapping on a T-shirt, jeans, and comfy sneakers, pulling a brush half-heartedly through your hair, and making it out the door just in time to catch the bus.  I can see the shift happening in you... that shift to becoming a young woman.  This morning it was glaringly obvious.   It's scary, exhilarating, sweet.  Oh, how I pray that I am equipped to handle this next stage of motherhood.  My plan?  To just grab your hand and walk with you straight through it.  All of it.

Katie, you nearly missed the bus with the procrastinating and the moving in slow motion.  It's been rough the past few weeks to get you off to school, with the "I don't wannas" and the "But I just wanna be with you, Mommys."  Soon enough, my sweet girl, we will be on the other side of this public school adventure, and we'll be able to look back and say... been there, done that, moved on.  I pray that we are both able to encourage each other enough over the next three months that we can make it through.  I think we can do whatever we decide to do.  Us Strouth women are survivors and thrivers.

I realize it's been a while since I wrote in this space.  It's not been for lack of want.  The season of life that we are currently in has been blissfully chaotic.  We've been through computer problems (our desktop, laptop, and tablet all pooped out on us at once!)  Although I'm taking it as a sign that God wanted us to have a bit of time and space for our souls to breathe, without all the noise that such devices tend to create.  We need that from time to time. 

We've endured my short stint as a deli clerk at our local grocery store, working unpredictable hours and being away from you guys a lot of evenings.  I'm just glad it's over.  I'm thankful that I could contribute financially for our family, but at the end of the day we were reminded that our family functions best when Mom is home taking care of things.  It's just the way we're wired. 

I'm extremely thankful for the perspective that little part-time job brought me though, as I now remember what it was like trying to juggle a job and home and everything and everyone in it.  I have such a deep respect and am in awe at the women who can do it, and do it well.  Before I got the job, my tasks here at home were starting to feel cumbersome.  Mundane.  Not "worth it."  I now remember that every little task I do here at home is just another way of pouring myself into you guys...which is eternal work, and my most favorite job yet.

We've been without our sweet friend, Kaylee, who is more like a daughter than anything, and not having her here with us five days a week is like being without a member of our own family.  She'll be coming back to spend her days with us again in a few weeks, now that her daddy's work is straightened out.  I'm so thankful for the opportunity to care for her while her parents work.  Another little soul to pour into every day is a task, yes.  But eternal one.  I've said it before; I'm humbled by the notion that I'm entrusted to shepherd her little heart.  What an honor.  I can't wait until she's back!

We made it through the perfect storm of sickness.  Since New Year's Day, we've been battling strep, stomach viruses, bronchitis, pink eye, and a whole slew of other various cold/flu-type ailments.  In fact, I spent my 31st birthday flat on my back trying to survive strep.  (And by 'flat on my back', of course I mean curled up as tight as possible in the fetal position, trembling, with a blanket tucked under my chin.)

We survived what I'm calling "The Fastest Holiday Season in History."  (Seriously, it flew.)  Looking back on it still causes my head to spin.  The only pictures I took at Thanksgiving were of us stuffing the bird and putting it into the oven, and then of the finished product.  Twenty people were in our home that day and not a single one of us could remember to take pictures!  It must mean we were busy making memories and enjoying each others company, so I guess it's okay.  Christmas was the same way.  (We now know that 'Baby's First Christmas' when you're the third child means you get about five blurry pictures taken of you trying to eat wrapping paper, and that's about it--at least in the Strouth House.)

And I guess we'll see what 'Baby's First Christmas' looks like when you're the fourth child sometime soon...which is my awkward way to announce that we've decided to try for another baby!  People are starting to look at us like we're weird now when we make such an announcement which, to us, usually means we're on to something good.  :-)

All in all, as I said before, this season of life for the Strouths has been blissfully chaotic.  Life is full of seasons like that.  It's how you deal with it while you're in it that matters.  There have been moments in the past four months that I've wondered what in the world we are doing.  Moments when it felt like we were in the middle of a storm.  And yet, when I look back, I can't see that it was a stormy season.  In fact, there were moments when I've felt extremely peaceful about everything, and that peace just keeps getting stronger as we forge on into the year.  It's the kind of peace that only God can provide, in His time; in His way. 

It's going to come in handy as we move forward.  There are first-ever 5k races to run, surgery to be had, first birthdays to celebrate, and so much more.  No, I don't see that this season is anywhere near over.  But I am confident that we're equipped with whatever it'll take to get to the other side of it.

I love you, ladies.  And whether it's a hectic morning or a crazy season, I feel so grateful to have my family to share it all with. 


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