Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Counting One Thousand Gifts: Denial and Chaos and Joy

 Why am I in denial about the realities of summer EVERY year?  Why do I eagerly anticipate the end of the school year in expectation of slow and laid back summer days ~ carefree and restful?  Why, in May, do I picture myself on warm, sunny beaches in June with my kids splashing in the cool waves and picnic lunches on blankets?  Why do I imagine delightful mommy-daughter time in the kitchen creating new popsicle concoctions together for purpose of lazy day treats and play dates with friends in the backyard?

Why do I set myself up for disillusionment?

Because summer is NEVER that way at our house. Oh, there are popsicles and sunny beach days and play dates, but they are barely squeezed in between an abundance of other summer activities.  My friend Betsy and I tried to find a weekend to go on another horrific adventurous White Mountain back-packing trip with our husbands, but we could not come up with even ONE weekend that our family did not have an obligation.   That's right.  Booked solid into August, and Classical Conversations starts on August 21st. I have even missed the first three weeks of pick-up at our farm, because the allotted collection days and hours have been filled with other things. {Thankfully, Robert was able to go for me a couple of times.}

But the chaos never ceases to also be ripe with abundance, and while I have longings for slow and leisurely days, the constancy of  full days brings lots of life and joy, and my heart is grateful. {mostly}

What kinds of chaos and fullness and activity?  Well, here's a look into last week...

A going away party for some dear church men on MONDAY. {Which was on the heels of a The Gospel Coalition Woman's Conference in Orlando and delayed flights due to tropical storm Debbie which put us in bed around 2am Monday morning.  But what a WONDERFUL weekend of learning and growing and worshiping!}
 A final pre-marital counseling session and dinner with this special couple on TUESDAY. {They cooked for us in their soon-to-be-home!}
 A final meeting of my women's small group Bible study on WEDNESDAY, and a very impromptu backyard birthday and fajita party for Kory's 17th on THURSDAY.
 We had to celebrate on Thursday, because on FRIDAY Kory and Robert were leaving bright and early for Chicago.
There were several coffee dates sprinkled throughout the week, and I should also mention the swimming.  Admittedly, I am a big part of adding chaos to my own life, because for the second over-the-top-crazy-busy summer {Ten weddings last summer}, my friend Betsy and I decided to train for another triathlon ~ and an Olympic length one at that.  This means that twice a week we brave the extremely cold waters of our local Puffers Pond to practice our swimming.  We worked up to 8 laps last week which equals the one mile we'll have to do for the actual event in August. {Betsy literally "laps" me, and has to wait on shore for this slow-poke to finish.  Sigh...}

 Really, it's just plain dumb to torture oneself in this manner, but for some reason we keep going back for more. It takes almost an hour to finish this task, and requires almost as much time in a very hot shower afterward to recover. Note the jackets and sweatpants required prior to the swim. Ridiculous.
 And silly and foolish.  But also fun and laughter-filled and providing the health and stamina needed to reach our common goal ~ a one mile swim, a 25 mile bike ride, and a six mile run.  At least we've slotted our swim times in the afternoons this summer.  Last year, we did them at 6am. {That was really stupid.}

Back to FRIDAY.  7am brought about the departure of Robert, Kory, and Gregory ~ an Amherst College grad, and recent intern at our church.  With our van filled with all of Gregory's worldly possessions, they headed to the Chicago area where Greg will be attending seminary.
 And FRIDAY also brought the arrival of my dear friend from Oklahoma ~ Karla.  I picked her up in Worcester after she spent the week in Boston doing some training for an up-and-coming company there. We spent Friday evening eating Mexican food with other girlfriends

SATURDAY required a wake up time of 4:30am, picking up a fellow Classical Conversations tutor in Springfield at 6am, and driving to Bridgeport, CT for an all day business training.  I could hardly stay awake and finally got home at 8pm.
SUNDAY was church and a wonderful sermon on prayer, or rather, prayerlessness.

and MONDAY held playdates for Kayla and her friends {five of them!} at my house, as well as a playdate with my friends ~ Karla and Christie {the Okies!} at a local cafe.

Next week brings youth camp, then we'll head to California for my brother's wedding, then it will be Ben and Cindy's wedding weekend {cute couple above}, and then it will be August, and then we'll start school and church in full force.

Is the laundry done?  No.
Are the groceries bought? No.
Are the homeschool reports written and turned in?  Nope.
Are phone calls and emails returned? Not fully.
Have I cooked a decent meal in the last three weeks?  Not really.

It's chaos, but it's also abundance ~ an abundance relationship, of grace, of joy,  and of opportunities to trust in and rely upon Christ for strength, and I'm thankful.

Too tired to post my "grace gifts" from June tonight, so I'll post them separately, and hopefully soon. ☺


TCC said...

Mel, r u training for the Greenfield triathlon? If so, I did that once (as a team). I was the swimmer and the water was freezing the day of the event. :) Fun and dumb.

Like your swimming attire!

Melanie said...

I think our triathlon is in CT and at the end of August. Didn't know there was a Greenfield one! Will have to check in on that one. That water is literally breathtaking, in that I can hardly breath when I'm in it! :)