Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hamster Wheel is about to STOP.

Summary of a text conversation:

R:  Maybe we can get together soon when we have more time….

Me:  I just feel like I am on a hamster wheel, and I am getting very, very weary

R:  You say that every year at this time…

Yes.  It has been building.  Fall in our home means more craziness than usual, and this year we seemed to have more than our normal share of chaos.  In fact, chaos seems like such a calm, pretty little word.  Have you ever seen the movie, "Cheaper by the Dozen" with Steve Martin?  That was our house this fall.  Ha!  Well, it felt like it, anyway.  Seriously, we have always been scattered, but here is just a tiny summary of the directions we have been going:

Scott:  Head coach of EU Football, and this year they completed a football field and facility during the season, adding an extra slice of craziness.  To top it off, he lost about 16 starters to a variety of factors including injury, concussion, drugs, and bad attitude.  Ouch.

Hannah:  Continued to homeschool this fall and run for the Spartan XC team.  They had a great season, and she ran her best time at the NACA meet in Dayton, TN last week.  She also works part time at the store with me and is about to undertake an order for 30 dozen iced sugar cookies between now and Thanksgiving.  She has decided to go to EU after Christmas and join her sister in the ranks of brown and gold.

Sarah:  Decided to go to EU this fall and run XC there.  Leading the Urchins, Sarah finished 3rd at State last week in 2A, and she also made all A's on her report card!

Will:  Continues to homeschool, and he is actually a grade ahead this year.  He spends his free time learning computer skills and reading.

Josh:  Still homeschooling, and playing hard for the Sherman Cowboy little league football.  He is determined to get fast, lose weight, and be the next Josh Robinson (MSU).

A: Was with us for an entire year and just recently went to be with her forever family, who also happen to be close friends of ours.  We miss her dearly, but we know that she is blossoming with our friends.

Kayleigh:  We are hoping any day now to get our court date to finalize her adoption!!!  And she's two.  VERY two.

Me:  Wife stuff, mom stuff, schooling stuff, coaching the Spartan girls' XC team, working at Trails & Treads, and trying to get motivated to train for Boston 2015.

So there you have it.  I'm sure I lost all 3 of my readers about halfway down that list, but I just needed to set the stage for the level of busy-craziness going on with us.  My mind has been screaming words like STREAMLINE, SIMPLIFY, and STOP, but I have been paralyzed in that wild-eyed, "I'm going to implode if something doesn't change" state.  In fact, I have threatened to move to Mexico and jump off a cliff on multiple occasions.

Last week on the way to Dayton, TN, a friend gave me a book to borrow.  It was called 7, by Jen Hatmaker.  In the Lord's good timing, Candice gave me this book at the beginning of a 6 hour road trip, in which I was not the driver!  It also happened to be the beginning of the end…. The beginning of the last weekend of utter craziness before the winter.  "A" had officially moved to be with her forever family, high school and little league football were over, and this was the last XC meet for both Hannah and Sarah.

I gobbled down the entire book in one day.

7 is the story of a Christian lady who was feeling overwhelmed by all the "stuff" in her life and felt the need to cut out the excess.  (Maybe I am projecting, but as I read, I thought, "I know exactly how this lady feels.  The crazy train has to stop.  She is jumping off her hamster wheel.")  She did this by identifying seven areas of her life and using the number 7 in various capacities to cut away extras.  For example, she only ate 7 foods, chose 7 green habits to begin, etc.

This could have easily been construed into a humanistic effort, but she made it pretty clear that she wanted to use the time as a type of fast.  One of my favorite quotes is, "I have simply said, 'Jesus, may there be less of me and my junk and more of You and Your kingdom.'  I will reduce, so He can increase."

It has been four days since I finished the book, and I have been thinking and praying about what my response to the Lord is going to be.  I feel that he is speaking to me through conviction, through His Word, and through circumstances like the timeliness of that book.  I don't think that Mrs. Hatmaker's way is THE way, nor do I feel called to cut my wardrobe down to 7 things or simplify our food… we pretty much eat about 7 foods anyway, and I am NOT a clothes horse!  However, I know that things can not remain as they are if our goal is to bring glory to the Lord.

This weekend Scott and I have been given a two night hotel stay in Nashville!!!!!!!!!  I can't tell you the last time we did ANYTHING like that.  I have gone on a quick trip with him to a coaches banquet, and he drove me to my triathlon this summer… but I don't know WHEN we just hung out together.  One thing we both want to do is take some time to talk through things.  You know, talk…. it's what people who know each other do, right??  Haha, yes, it's been that crazy.

Anyway, we are going to get down to nitty gritty specifics about the details, but I know we both have the same heart in this matter.

REPENT- We have been reading an excellent book by Richard Owen Roberts called Repentance.  I have been praying that God would show me the areas of my life that are not bringing him glory, and I know Scott has too.

REDUCE- We are going to have to reduce in spending in order just to make our budget work.  (Going back to a cash system next week, so I can't rob Peter to pay Paul anymore…)  However, the things I had in my mind just a few days ago as necessities are not seeming quite as important.   Hopefully we can reduce enough to give and save more.

RETURN to a more disciplined lifestyle- This has been a topic of discussion for a while with us.  But it's time.  No more excuses.  We have already started going to bed early in order to get up early and start our day off right.  This weekend we also plan to talk about other ways we can reduce distractions in order to return to a more disciplined lifestyle.  Media/ screen time is a big one.  For all 7 of us… even Kayleigh, who now clamors for Care Bears constantly!  We have to figure out a good long term solution, because I feel like I am less productive now that I have all of these great time saving things like text messages and email.  I have a love/ hate relationship with my phone.  Lately mostly hate.

That whole no more excuses thing… well I make a lot of them.  And I have let myself get way out of shape after tearing my calf in the fall.  It's time to start returning to discipline by changing eating habits and getting back into my exercise groove. (How am I thinking I am going to run Boston in April??)

REFRESH-    WAY MORE IMPORTANTLY than marathon training or cutting out junk food, I have a desire for spiritual nourishment.  I have not memorized Scripture in, well, I am too prideful to even tell anyone when.  But it has been too long.  My quiet times have been dry and spotty for the last year, and I feel like The Lord is warming my heart and drawing me closer to Himself again.

SOOOO… There you have it.  For friends who I don't see regularly, I know this post actually dropped a lot of bombs.
1.  Sarah went to public school.
2.  Hannah is going to public school.
3. We did not decide to adopt A, and it worked it out for her to be adopted by our close friends.
4. We are about to OFFICIALLY have a new Duley… and her name is going to be Kayleigh Irene.
5. Scott and I get to be alone together for two days!!!
6. I didn't drop this bomb, but I might as well… I have applied for grad school at MSU in order to renew my teaching license.  If I take two online classes towards my MAT, then I will be able to teach.  Not sure if anything will come of it, but there it is.

Maybe one day soon I will post again and fill in the gaps on all this.  I would love to share about our experience as foster parents, but I probably won't anytime soon.  It's too complicated, too raw, and I don't know that any amount of typing could convey the joys and the pains of that roller coaster.  Hannah is already angling for another foster baby… I have promised to consider it in the spring… but we need a while to re-group.  Hmmm… REGROUP… I should have used that one after RETURN… :)