I had a big deal “milestone” birthday in 2016–you know, one that ends in 0. I decided to take that year to refocus. I resigned from responsibilities outside my home in order to catch up and regroup and prepare to do more things that really mattered to me. I would repair and renovate and bring order to our house. I would give attention to the abilities I have in art and music. I would continue to write and edit for publication in the local newspaper, and consult for doctoral scholars’ dissertations, but my writing focus would be writing blogs and trying to publish the books I’ve written. I got bids from contractors, bought art supplies, and bought Blogging for Dummies. But then–LIFE happened.
My husband and I have four adult children and nine grandchildren who were then all between the ages of 1 and 10. One family lived in a city 5-1/2 hours’ drive away, the others each lived at least 9 hours away. I always had them in my prayers and heart and often on my mind, but they weren’t part of my daily life in person. Then, within 2 months of my milestone birthday, two of the three families, including six of the nine grandchildren, relocated to within 20 miles of our house, one just a mile away–you know, within walking distance. Suddenly my priorities and well-laid plans changed. A normal weekday might include an art class and/or home-school lessons around the dining room table, a Happy Meal at McDonald’s, an excursion to a museum or fair, or cleaning and re-filling a wading pool in the back yard. Sandwiches were now in the shape of train engines–I actually bought a cutter that would do that! The dining room contained a truck depot, a blocks bin, and a game shelf. I bought six extra swimsuits just to keep at Grammie’s house, and kept bedding in the den in case a child suddenly wanted to sleep over. Sunday afternoons were filled with family instead of the internet.
The wise king, Solomon, wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Paul wrote in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” James wrote, “…you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'” Having our plans interrupted, or our purposes delayed, ought to be just fine with us. Every day I need to be as intentional about joyfully believing that God is at work in my life and accepting changes as I was about making the plans in the first place. I have an incredible treasure house of unexpected memories from that year, and they’re especially cherished because four of the six grandchildren have now moved a two-days’ drive away. A contractor is rebuilding a porch next week. I can read Blogging for Dummies now. My milestone year has come and gone. It was used really, really well!
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