This began as a poolside post, then being poolside meant playing in the pool and chatting with another mom, so…now it’s a post-pool post. Probably better that way, since phones and water aren’t a good mix!
I’ve been reading “A Mother’s Rule of Life”, and the funny thing about it is that I’ve read it at least 3 times before, and each time, I actually do gain something new. This past week, I read through the chapter on prayer. It is the first “p” to focus on in creating a Rule (a design for your days). Prayer is the first, because God is first and everything should begin with prayer. Or, as Blessed Theresa of Calcutta used to say, “Everything starts from prayer”. After reading and thinking on this chapter, and considering what I could do to better my prayer life, I realize that there’s always room for more. There’s always room to grow. But, before I get ahead of myself and start trying to get to daily Mass and Adoration and *do* more, it’s time to just focus more. Focus on my words, focus on listening, focus on simply being in God’s presence and being aware of his Spirit working in my life. Those are the parts I’ve lost–the focus. Lately, I’ve been hitting the snooze button too many times, rattling off a Morning Offering as I sneak away from the bedroom while trying not to wake the baby, and then begging for mercy throughout the day. Anyone else doing that lately?
My plan for my Rule is to give myself–I mean, give God–ten minutes at each of the day, and more if I can manage it. Many of my mornings (and evenings) don’t allow for too much quiet time, but ten minutes seems reasonable. When I can, I’ll expand and add in some extra time, or some spiritual reading, or even Adoration when possible. Throughout the day, I’ll try, with the kids, to be more intentional with family morning prayers, and not just speed through them before starting math lessons. (We could all use some extra prayers before math lessons! ha!) It’s simple, right? Ten minutes at each of the day, but intentional, purposeful, and personal. From there, I’ll be able to bring all the day’s needs to God, and with his grace and guidance, hopefully do a better job at all the rest of the hours in the day.
Now that I’ve come to a plan for prayer, it’s about time to plan the rest. Chapters 4-7 detail the remaining “Ps”: person, partner, parent, and provider. Here I’m going to start planning with my Rule notebook as well as a new planner for the coming year. I already have my eyes and heart set on this one.
The Blessed Is She team did an amazing job designing this beauty. It’s colorful, liturgical, and practical. Please do check it out, any purchases not only get you a beautiful planner, but also help support the ministry. Did you know there are thousands of women around the world who pray and grow in their faith with Blessed Is She? And that women are meeting in person to grow in fellowship and friendship? It’s truly beautiful and amazing and God is working to touch lives.
So back to planning and being poolside. If I didn’t need to have hands and eyes always on the little boys, I’d probably read and plan more while sitting by the pool. Being forced to not read or plan does clear my head a smidge for big-picture ideas. Ideas like how good it is to be outdoors, and how much the kids thrive being active and exploring and learning. We spent all week at the pool. Do you know how much work it is to take 6 kids to the pool? It is almost as much work as getting kids ready to play in the snow! Suits, towels, sunscreen. Sunscreen takes forever to apply. Then after swimming, the drying off, and wriggling out of wet suits, and showering, and getting dry clothes on. So much work. It’s been so worth it, though. The kids are learning and growing stronger while at swim lessons. When we play at the pool, like today, they’re using what they’re learning and teaching each other. And being active keeps them happier.
My mental notes while watching them soon will take shape when I look forward to the school year. The pool will close, but we’ll still take time to run on the beach and splash in the waves. Maybe we’ll do a YMCA membership to keep swimming through the fall and winter. We’ll prepare the day ahead for outings, because trying to prep food and clothing for an outing (like the pool or beach) is too crazed in the morning to accomplish anything else. Some days will be spent away from home all day, to make the most of where we are in the state, and the good weather. Some days will be kept sacred as “stay home days”, because after long days in the sun, we need rest and quiet.
I’ll plan days for exploring. Days for reading the classics and then doing yard-work. Days for creating and days for math and science. Days for baking, days for doing nothing at all. Even without a regular schedule yet, I can see a rhythm to our days and our weeks. Hopefully, I can tap into this and create our schedule and my Rule to reflect what comes naturally and to move us towards good use of our time.
(and then God will laugh and we’ll have a huge issue to deal with, making me humble and totally reliant on him instead of plans)
Still. I know life happens, and I’m going to give it over to God in prayer every single morning before I begin our days. I’m hoping that my Rule, and working with the natural rhythms of life and my children, will help us to all have mostly-smooth days most of the time.
And now that I’ve spent 5 days at the pool, I’d really like to visit the beach again. The feel of the sand under my toes can’t be beat.