One recurring thread in my life - and a lesson I've had to relearn a time or two - is that to be content, I must know what my top priorities are, and I must do those priorities. The priorities have changed over the years so I have to reassess them every so often.
Quite a long time ago, I learned a valuable lesson on realizing my priorities. Several years after that, life moved us over a state border, our children were no longer babies and toddlers, but busy school children, and I was invited to work with several women on a huge speaking and writing project. I became overwhelmed again, until I realized....my priorities.
Since I've learned that hard lesson twice over the years, I'm very protective now of my time. My husband is my barometer*. He knows how well I am handling what I'm doing, and how well I will handle more.
But even though I have a human barometer and even though I know I need to maintain my priorities, life's bumps, hiccups, and requests keep me off course much of the time. That's when I have to pull back, reassess where I am at the stage in life vs. where I'd like to be, and recreate my priorities.
My priority 'accounts' are:
That list, and the order, hasn't changed much over the years, but the specifics change according to what I know I need to do in an area.
For this season, at least through the end of Spring, I know I need to work on the following, in each account:
Even though I like freedom, and permission to chase butterflies, having goals helps me live life on purpose, making sure I'm fitting in what's most important to me.
Do you keep a priority list? What does yours look like?
* Definition of Barometer:
Setting Priorities & Then Being Okay with Them is the 4th degree of my 360° Project. I hope you'll join me on this journey!
Monday evening our fourteen-year-old daughter and I went to the bay for the sunset. She needed to get into nature after a stressful weekend. I noticed that an iPhone photo I took of her standing on the bluff looked like a silhouette, so I asked her to "do a ballet pose," and snapped this shot...
One of these days (soon, I hope), I want to do a ballerina photo shoot with her - at the beach, downtown in the city, at the bay.
Tonight, our two middle children, ages 14, and 12, went to a formal with homeschooling friends in their age group. Little brother asked big sis to be his stylist for the event. She did a great job!
I hope your evening was fun, too!
....raising our fourteen-year-old daughter.
From Tim, to me.
Here's a wee moment from this week that I'd bottle up and keep on a shelf if only I could...
iPhonetography, April 10, 2012
Photo: iPhone. Our 12yo son and 14yo daughter, playing badminton in our back yard.
The pregnancy and toddler season was physically exhausting and I'm sure I lost brain cells for lack of adult conversation for a few years there (bless the poor, poor WalMart cashier who innocently started up a conversation with chat-starved me).
The early elementary season was mentally exhausting as I learned how to teach. That season was also full of beautiful memories, of mostly at-home days, baking together, nature journaling, creating hilarious clay faces, and going to the beach without notice (to anyone, even ourselves).
This season, the middle-of-child-raising while they're-half-independent-half-not is the most exhausting of any season I've lived so far. I'm physically tired from all the go-go-going, but not as tired as in those toddler days. I'm mentally fatigued, sure, but not in the way I was in the elementary season.
Mostly, this season, I'm soul-fatigued. I can feel the world tugging at our older children with strength equal to my own. I can sense the passing presence of the devil as he "roams to and fro throughout the earth, seeking whom he may devour." I daily feel my soul stir with warnings and conscience-pricks and convictions. "Teach this child that," it says. "Let that go," it whispers another day.
"It's hard work being a parent," I say to Tim.
"I know," he says.
Then we carry on.
I listen to my on-my-knees playlist.
And I put one foot in front of the other, trusting that God will help me through this beautiful... unbelievably beautiful, incredibly hard, unforgettably wonderful season of raising teenagers.