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March 29, 2015

In recent years, I’ve become more and more aware of the phrase, “Seasons of Life.”  It never dawned on me when I was young and in college that life could be described seasonally.  It was more linear then.  Seasons implies a cyclical nature– times of dying and hibernation, times of dormancy, times of growth, and times of just surviving the heat (at least that’s our Central Texas season).

What brought about this seasonal introspection?

I was laughing at myself this past week about my former struggle with acedia.  Acedia, I thought.  What a novel and somewhat appealing problem to have, I reflected as I watched my week become fuller and fuller until I was sure it would all over flow.  What is it like to not know how to fill my time? I wondered as I debated if the laundry would really get washed (much less folded and put away) and groceries would ever be bought.  Time for restlessness and searching seemed luxurious as I wondered if I could grade papers at the boy’s baseball game of if that was being a “bad mother.”


There’s my word for the year again.  As I was chastising and mocking myself with my struggle with acedia back with the littles were actually little, I remembered my word.

All of which brought me to my seasonal introspection.


While I can’t quite ever remember being quite this “busy” before (and trust me, I am not wearing busy as a badge of honor.  On me, the word “busy” burns more like the scarlet letter), I have had seasons of my life when I juggled many things.  I look back on my year of teaching when I was pregnant with Madeleine and working on my National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification and wonder how in the world I sat for a 3 hour essay test when I was 35 or 36 weeks pregnant.  I remember that picture I have of me sitting on the couch nursing Madeleine while I graded papers.    I remember rushing out of school to pick her up in time for daycare and using any spare moment I had at school to pump.  How in the world did I do that?

The season of just surviving the heat


When Madeleine was a year old and I had just gotten pregnant with John, I quit teaching and started working for Curtis.  I struggled a bit that nine months with who I was now that I longer taught and with crazy, crazy pregnancy hormones.  Many tears were shed.  What had I lost by quitting in teaching?  What was my purpose in life?  What gave me meaning?  Where did all my friends go (work friends in particular who were now on a completely different schedule than myself)?

The season of dying and hibernation.DSCN0062

What a sharp contrast to when I no longer worked.  I scheduled my days, I craved routine because when it was just me and John and Madeleine, there didn’t seem to be a lot of routine.  Monday’s were laundry days.  Thursday was our play date day.  Friday was cleaning day.  Wednesday was grocery day.   I had a schedule for what I would deep clean each Friday, just so I had some schedule.

The season of dormancy.


I spent a lot of time those years at home learning.  I read books and books on cooking.  I tackled complex baking projects and cooking projects because I desired to do something with my brain besides watching PBS Kids and trying to answer Madeleine’s constant barrage of questions. “What’s under the road, Mommy?” was asked every.single.time we got into the car.  I started digging deeply into my faith, strengthening my faith practices, learning more about the Bible and Bible history.  I started a food blog and a blog about how many family was growing for my out of state relatives who could only watch my children change from afar.  I started writing here, realizing I may have something to say that others wanted to listen to.

The season of growth.

Here I am again.  Back in the season of just surviving the heat.  That nice long season of growth that intermingled with the seasons of dying/hibernation and dormancy I have found is helping to sustain me.  I’ve done spring season with soccer, baseball, and soon to be added swimming enough years to know the overlap is short lived.  I can do it, even with extra time challenges this year.  Those years I spent collecting recipes on food blog provides me with many, many quick and easy recipes—recipes I can make ahead and freeze, or put in the crockpot before a game or practice and have a meal when we get home.  I’ve mastered the 45 minute meal (30 minute meal is a mythical creation, like a Yeti, a leprechaun, or dragons) that incorporates lots of vegetables from our CSA box.


Those years of praying and reading also help me get through the long heat.  I know now, this is but a season.  I thought the season of my children being young would never pass.  It has.  My baby will be six in April.  Six.  He just participated in his first Math Pentathlon tournament, is learning how to read, and will be done with kindergarten in June.  I’m not quite sure how this has happened.  I thought acedia would torment me forever.  Not so.  My seasons of dying, hibernation, and dormancy have taught me how to thrive when things are changing–find time to read occasionally, find a close, small group of friends that let me drop in and out of their lives as my schedule allows, and continue to look for things to add to my ever growing thankful list.

I am gentler with myself now.  I’ve given myself (our family) permission to just not do everything, whether it’s skipping the math pentathlon awards or missing children’s choir rehearsals and an occasional Sunday morning church.  Sometimes I’m particularly whining about what is withering under this hot summer sun.  The next morning, though, I wake up and see the flowers that still linger from the spring and beauty that comes from heat.

Before I know it, the season will pass, whether it is due to the age of my children, the years of teaching experience I have collected again, or eventually retirement.  It is well.  It is well.  All manner of things are well.


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