The winter months -- especially January -- often feel bleak and dreary to me. But this year, I've sought to quietly give my mornings to the Lord, and, when I do, the shift in my outlook is noticeable.
The first hour of waking is the rudder that guides the whole day.
Henry Ward Beecher
The morning hour, with my cup of tea and God's Word before me, have grown more precious, and the darkness outside serves only to heighten the vividness of the Light I am learning to discern within.
I open my prayer journal and jot a few notes, add some thoughts, requests, praises, and I come to my children. I'm struck by Lamentations, which reminds me to "Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to Him for the lives of your children . . . ." I don't have extremely pressing needs or urgent requests for them at this season, but I pray for each one and ask the Lord to teach me how to pray when I'm not able to form the words.
Lately I've been asking the Lord to provide creativity in relating to a Certain Little Someone in our home. Our personalities often clash, and more often than not it takes every single ounce of patience in my being to make it to the end of the day without pulling my hair out. Of course it's usually at the end of the day when I most need this blessed patience! Well, in our morning tea conversations, the Lord gently reminded me to treasure those times, and to savor rather than rush the bedtime hour. This is tricky. But as I've done so, I've been given precious little glimpses into my child's heart and needs.
The other night, as I sat on the edge of her bed, I thought of a fun, conversation-promoting question to ask. I leaned into her face, stroked her hair and said, "If you could have a perfect day, what would it look like?" She thought for a moment and, after I had clarified that, for this question, her answer had to be realistic (i.e. we're not going to Disneyland or Slovenia) she came up with her "perfect" day. I guided her to list every particular, like what time she would wake up, what she would eat, where she would go and what she would do.
It turned out to be such a fun exercise, that I asked the same of Aidan the next day. Apparently Little Miss thought it was fun, too, because I later noticed that she had created a poster entitled, "A Very Good Day." On it she had listed (in picture form) the order of events, complete with doughnuts for breakfast, a trip to the library in the afternoon (bless her heart), a movie in the evening, the painting of her bedroom (man, I really need to get on that) and books at bedtime. Which would be 9:30. (She also wanted to go to the store for a minute, but she wasn't quite sure why. Likely the reason would make itself known when she was walking down the aisles.)
Sweet dear. Such a simple little question, and it unleashed her little mind and creativity in a way that I hadn't expected. It also gave me a glimpse into how important that bedtime ritual can be. Surely an answer to prayer. Not huge or drastic, but simple and, well, perfect. For a perfect kind of day.
* * * * * * *
I know if I could orchestrate my perfect day, it would certainly include a good read! Often, at the beginning of the year, I look ahead, wondering what I will read. This year, I thought it would be fun to create a system (yes, I can be OC like that) to guide me in my book choices. In an effort to embrace simplicity and contentedness, my first guideline was that I would focus mainly on the unread books that I already have on my bookshelves. But from there, well, see if you can guess what my system is! So far I've enjoyed:
Emma by Jane Austen
National Velvet by Enid Badnold
Glengarry School Days by Ralph Connor
And up next on the shelf?
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
(Can you figure it out?)
And if you're up for an inspiring or challenging read, but find that your time is limited, let me invite you to soak in a few words on the web. They've done me good this week:
Because questions are a gift: The Questions that will Save Your Relationships
Because sometimes we forget to get off the island: Sometimes I'm an Island
Because we don't always know what to say: 5 Can't-Miss Lessons for Walking With People in Pain
Because sometimes we need to be inspired (take time to watch the video with your kiddos, too!): How to Find Time and Space for the Life You Want
And because sometimes we need to remember that less is more: 10 Unconventional Habits to Live Distraction-less.
Have a blessedly "perfect-in-Him" evening, friends!
How to Find Time & Space for the Life You Want