Saturday, October 1, 2011

Turning Over an Autumn Leaf

The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose. ~Arnold Bennett

My family returned from Florida on Thursday evening. It is amazing that the same sad-glad feelings as the day they left, but flipped. My break was over, but I had my family back with me. We stopped at the Mellow Mushroom on the way home to eat a pizza. I could see that the Princess was very tired and was not showing her best side because of it, but I had that legs-wrap-around-my-waist kind of hug at the airport that I made it all bearable. I am a mother. I had a bit of a break, but I am still a mother and she is still my child, and we are again together.

Even while she was away, I thought of things to do for her. I cleaned up her room and removed some books she has outgrown and found special places for new ones and present favorites. I did not do everything, though. I left about six "drawers" and a bin for her to organize herself.

I had gone shopping at the local Goodwill store last week all by myself! I just want to say here that is so odd how just going to a store with a toddler was a big deal with the car seat and stroller or cart but now my daughter is the one who usually pushes the cart and helps me shop. That Tuesday it just felt unnatural not to have her help, although I reminded myself there was a time that I did all this extra stuff because of her inability to do for herself when she was so little. Then she depended on me so much and now I am depending on her more as she matures. I suppose it is all part of the natural progression into ever-changing mysteries of the parent-child relationship.

Anyway, at the Goodwill store, I found a few things. A tea-length skirt with a fall leave print and dark gold, long, casual dress at half price, just $4.50, in perfect condition--such a good color for autumn! I bought a book for the Princess, as she likes Nancy Drew mysteries, and even as I had just dropped off some outgrown toys and a few stuffed animals for donation, there I was at the checkout with a small fairy-winged stuffed bear that would easily fit on her shelves in front of her books: it still had a tag and looked brand new for $2. I also found a couple of books for me.

Quiet Times for Parents: A Daily Devotional has been added to my currently reading list here and will probably be there for some time. I was thinking I needed something like this for myself when my daughter, on a previous Goodwill shop, found a year long daily devotional for herself. I had not really prayed about it, but I believe God heard it in my heart and provided. I began these devotions today and the first part I read under the heading of October 1:

He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends. ~Proverbs 17:9 (AMP)

Leave it to my Lord to cut right to the core in a timely manner. I am one to harp too much on a matter with my daughter. I will give everyone else lots of leeway, but those closest to me are the ones with whom I expect the most...and I know better. It is I who says that my expectations are the beginnings of trouble, remember? Without expectation, there is no disappointment, no hurt, no anger, and no harping.

However, I will have some expectations because she is my daughter. I was disappointed with the condition of her room, but I also knew that I am as much too blame for allowing it. I will no longer just ask her if she has cleaned her room before she can play with a friend because I am nearly always disappointed with her idea of a cleaned-up room; from now on I will inspect it...thoroughly because there were just way too many things stuffed away out of sight, but not in the right places. I would like for her to be a bit more self-disciplined in certain areas, yet there is something different about her that is far more important. I have to say that since the Princess was baptized, she is quite improved. She and I prayed together that God would prepare her heart and from the day of her baptism she really has had less attitude. There was a huge change in her from one day to the next and thereafter.

Likewise, with this break, I feel I have turned over a new leaf with my own attitude. I am so pleased with this new devotional focused on parenting and beginning our new schedule with the horse barn on Tuesday mornings. I am looking forward to how much better it will be for us with homeschool scheduling and my fasting day. I am even looking forward to planning just a section at a time for the next math level for the Princess, which begins next week also.

~ My Lord, thank you so much for this break that I needed more than I realized. Help me to be wise with time and use it to bring enjoyable and memorable moments between my daughter and me as well as between You and me. ~

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.