This week has been a busy one, with many up and downs along the way, but I am ending the week feeling optimistic and keeping the faith. I started today off really early in the morning before anyone was up. I was supposed to be baking cookies for teachers last night after I got the kids in bed, but the book I'm currently reading was calling my name so loudly that I couldn't ignore it (it may be because my body was exhausted and I just wanted to lay on the couch). I read until I fell asleep, so I got up early this morning and got to work baking those cookies for the kids' teachers. I was resolved not to spend money buying them anything, and I'm glad I made that decision. It was so therapeutic standing there in the stillness of morning working with my hands--rolling out dough, slicing it, rolling out rounds, filling them with meringue, over and over. I had iTunes on and some of the songs got me thinking about my life lately. I started crying a couple of times as I worked. It felt really weird to be baking and crying, but I think I worked through a lot of things in my mind today, and I'm grateful for that. I am trusting the Lord completely on an issue, and I am asking him to do a mighty work in my life, and believing I will receive it because I asked. This passage is giving me all kinds of hope right now:
"The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong...but time and chance happen to them all" (aka the race is to the one who endures). -Ecclesiastes 9:11
I just have to endure, and keep fighting through every setback and everything the devil throws my way. Who knows why we go through things. I often wish we didn't have to, and that things could be easier, less messy, less painful, less stressful. I let myself think that I'm getting more than my fair share of trials, that other people have it easier, and I feel like it's not fair. Sometimes only much later can you see how that trial was actually a good thing--whether it made you stronger or helped you lean on God more at a time when you were dangerously far from him, or whatever.
Some thoughts from this week:
- The kids are officially on Christmas break now. They get a week and two days off this year. Whose bright idea was that?
- I had my first doctor appointment last week and my ultrasound this week. The baby is growing right on schedule to the very day. I am also using a midwife this time around--I've never done that before, which also means I'm going to give birth at a different hospital (my first three were all born at the same one). I don't know if it really is that different, because it just feels like I'm seeing a doctor like I always have, but I like her.
- I started this tradition with my kids where I went out and bought a boy or girl thing the day I found out the sex of the baby, and I'm sad I didn't get to do that this time around. I bought a couple blankets online the next day, so I guess that counts.
- Olivia was telling jokes in the car this morning on the way to preschool, and this one cracked me up: "Why did the tree get cut down and made into a ferris wheel? So it could be a wooden ferris wheel and give people splinters."
- I've been waiting patiently for Mini Boden's seasonal sale because they have so many cute things but, sadly, they are normally out of my price range. Their sales are the only times I shop there, and this time--let's just say I got overexcited. And hey, the kids need new clothes. Their closets are getting sadder and sadder, and I'm tired of trying to be creative with it.
- A lot of my close friends/family know that B and I are trying to get out of debt. We've had a lot of financial stress in our lives in the last four years, and it was bad for our marriage, our family, everything. We felt like we were in bondage to people we didn't even care about personally, but they were the decision-makers in our lives because we owed them money. It took the joy right out of our days, and added a heck of a lot of stress to them instead. We went through Dave Ramsey's program and have been paying debts off ever since. It's been four long years, and we still have a long road ahead, but I'm so excited that we are five debts lighter at the end of 2012 than at the beginning. That feels good! And even though it sometimes doesn't feel like it, all those shoes and hot clothes I didn't buy was worth it.
- I am itching to start painting the kids' rooms but I'm also scared to smell paint, and want the baby to get a bit bigger before I do. It's also expensive to go from dark to light walls because you need so many layers, so I need to plan for it for sure.
- I'm not done Christmas shopping yet, though mostly what's left is just a couple gift cards. Got to finish wrapping things tomorrow.
- Mila and Olivia got their first professional haircuts this week, which was a highlight for them. I also gave two haircuts to family members (I'm the uncompensated family stylist), and I need to do a third before Christmas.
- I cut my hair last week after who knows how long since my last one. Over a year for sure. It lays so nicely now--love.
- We drove around with the kids one night this week looking at Christmas lights, and found a street near us where eight houses (four on one side, four on the other) are decked out in lights set to music. It is a sight to behold!
- I'm seeing the Nutcracker ballet tomorrow, and I'm so excited.