Tuesday, April 26, 2011

20 Minutes to Reflect!

Here is the task:  to write a blog in 20 minutes!  Why?  I don't have more time than that.  Honestly!  This day has been filled up with reorganizing toys; cleaning; home schooling my son; exercising; printing coupons; and trekking through a wet, puddled basement to complete a few loads of laundry.  It has been another busy day at the Hinz house.  Even through the clutter and chaos; through the dampness of the day (inside and out), my heart and my soul are at peace.  This is the forever "thing" that I am wanting to pass on to my children as well.  Life is so much better lived with peace!

We want to rent our home and move.  We want to enlarge the area in which we live.  We have many other short-term as well as long-term goals.  But, each and every day this family's biggest goal is to live in peace.  This peace is best achieved by contentment and joy.  This joy is best arrived at by laughing at life and enjoying the quirks and goodness in one another.  Our children are continually cracking us up!  Just last night, while we were doing our bedtime routine, my sometimes emotional and occasionally cantankerous 3 yr. old said, in response to being corrected, "I don't trust anyone!"  My husband and I just looked at each other completely astonished!  I asked, "Ella, where in the world did you hear such a thing?"  To which she replied while smiling, "In the Jungle Book."  We were relieved!  Then we had another good laugh!  The things our kids pick up and pay attention to!  Well, that's just it, isn't it?  It is amazing what they pay attention to....and they are paying attention! 

Knowing that my kids are paying attention, I want to grasp hold of each and every opportunity that presents itself to impart something good--something of lasting value--into their lives.  When they show interest in something, I really want to take the time to talk further with them.  When they have questions, I need to answer them!  When they are showing me that they desperately need my attention, I need to give them...myself!  They are watching; they are listening; they are paying close attention!  They remember things that I sometimes don't.  Just days ago, my 7 year old was retelling me of the time when my husband gave his coat to a man who was likely homeless, who was spending time around the dumpsters where my husband worked.  It was winter and the man needed a coat.  It seemed a simple, easy enough thing to do.  My son was probably 2 or 3 years old when this took place and I really don't think we've talked about it since then.  But, my son remembered because we did talk with him about it at the time; we told him how important it is to do something even when you are not sure there is much you can do.  Apparently, this had a lasting impact on him!

So, my forever lesson and my forever prayer is that I am living in peace with my family, with my neighbors, and with myself!  My children are paying attention to what I am doing and what I am saying.  They see my reactions to life.  They see the peace exemplified!  And, they see when peace is not what I have chosen.  We are continually living this life in front of our children, even when we are not sure what to do--or we don't feel we have enough time to do what needs to be done.  They are watching!  Young, impressionable lives are watching mine lived in front of them!  Lord, help me to remember to love as You do!  Help me remember to have peace in every circumstance.  Allow me to live with joy and contentment all the days of my life.  And, help me to take every opportunity to teach my children about what matters in this life.  Help my children to see you in the every day circumstances!

My 20 minutes is up!  My daughter is also up...from her nap, begging for a snack.  Laundry needs folded; toys need picked up; Lego pieces need found; a phone call needs to be made; and dinner needs prepared.  Life is busy and sometimes difficult to slow down.  But, in the midst of my busy life....little lives are watching!

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Position of Peace Or An Angle of Anxiety

As I sit at my computer to write, our house is buzzing with loud, crazy, happy sounds.  We have a smaller home and wood floors so sounds are not absorbed so well.  All 6 of us are here in the living room.  The boys are building Lego's with Daddy and the girls are happily racing from the living room through the dining room to the kitchen and back, half-naked, squealing the entire time.  It is loud!  You may wonder why I am attempting to compose my thoughts right now.  Well, I guess I don't see why not.  This is my life, most of the time!  And, although the house is loud and somewhat crowded right now, there is peace.  There is peace here because my husband and I have peace, therefore our children are able to experience peace. 

I am in no way bragging about having peace; I don't always have it.  Now, in saying this I am also not trying to suggest that peace is some ethereal state of being that sometimes shows up in our midst...and sometimes doesn't.  Peace is a decision.  I would say that it's a daily decision, but honestly, I think it is more of a moment by moment conscious effort.  I can make a conscious decision to live my life from a position of peace or from an angle of anxiety. 

I am convinced that we can have peace in the midst of struggle.  I believe we can have peace in times of transition just as much as we can have peace when everything seems settled and smells like a bed of roses.  We can have peace during life's ups and downs because we can choose to have peace!  Personally, our family is in the midst of some decisions that will lead to transition--and we don't know what the outcome will be.  Now, I could allow anxiety to take a firm grasp on my soul and I could experience, emotionally and physically, the side effects of stress.  However, I am resting in peace.

I have noticed that when I feel anxious, it is a direct result of my lack of trust in God's best for my life.  At times, I allow myself to question whether or not God has good intentions for my life.  Admittedly, at other times, I have even come to my own conclusion that God truly does not have good plans for my life.  Needless to say, this is not a good place to be.  It is no wonder that in low times like these, I am anxious about darn near everything...and it shows.  I feel the anxiety; my husband sees the effects of my stress; and certainly my children live in an atmosphere that is not conducive to joy or peace.  It really doesn't take long for me to realize that I need to get my act together!  There is no magic solution; I have to make the decision to go back to the basics.  At the most basic of all my beliefs is God's love for me!  He has good plans for my life!  I need to turn back to the love and peace of my Father.  When I do this, I once again feel peace take its place in the center of my life.  If I choose not to, I experience anxiety. 

Right now I am choosing peace.  This is a really good place to be!  Now, every single thing isn't perfect.  Every unknown has not been made known.  Every question has certainly not been answered.  In fact, some circumstances could easily be seen as contrary, but we are choosing to trust in God's goodness.  Even when life isn't good...even when life is frustrating...God is always good!  He always loves us and He has good intentions for our lives!  From a position of peace, everything that I approach as a woman, a wife, and a mother is much more hopeful.  Peace lends itself to this hope.  Hope reminds me that there are better days ahead and that there are many more great experiences to come.  My children, just like me, thrive when peace is in our home--when peace is in their midst.  I have found that I can also accomplish even more in my daily life when I am in a position of peace.  When I am looking at life from an angle of anxiety, it is difficult to complete even the most menial tasks.  But, from a position of peace, I am able!  Obstacles, challenges, and transitions are surmountable from a position of peace. 

So, as I wrap this up, my children and my husband are obnoxiously singing silly songs while cleaning up a huge pile of Lego's (by throwing them into 2 plastic bins).  It has been a noisy hour!  We have had wrestling, squealing, bickering, running, crying, and hysterical laughing all the while I've been writing.  But guess what?  I have peace right now!  So, surprisingly enough, I have been able to write an entire blog entry despite contrary circumstances.  Writing does my soul good!  It's something I love to do; it helps me when I have the opportunity to write.  From a position of peace, I am able to conquer just about anything...and you are too!