Day 16: All Dead Plants Aren’t in the Garden

Today is Day 16 of the 30 Days to Less Stuff and More Life Challenge. If you want to jump in, go get the book at Amazon, Simple Living – 30 days to less stuff and more life.

Sitting by the creek watching frogs swim by beats racing to the next big activity.

Lorilee likens dead plants to more than the stick in a vase.  “Dead plants” is also a metaphor for all the dead stuff which fills our schedule and sucks the life right out of us.  I have a veritable garden of dead plants here.  All of it is good stuff, like volunteering, but there isn’t room for all of it at once.  I am in the process of finishing up some commitments, both for myself and my children, and then we’re going to take some time off.

If you’ve read my blog for long, you know we’re going through a season of change.  I have hit the proverbial brick wall and can’t continue this pace much longer.

We are being pulled in a dozen directions at once, and I need to focus on the most important stuff.  For me, that has to be home schooling and family relationships (child/parent and husband/wife).

I have a daughter going into high school, and I hear that will blow her mind and mine at the same time.  I have four years to finish up her schooling, and I feel woefully unprepared and inadequate.  It’s not like she’s going to be a rocket scientist, but she still needs and deserves a well-planned and solid education.  That is going to require a lot of time and patience.  Sigh.  Time is fleeting.  Patience is my nemesis.

Then, of course, I have four other children, too.  One is going into junior high, and one will start kindergarten.  I feel like I’m getting hit by a high-pressure fire hose.

Because we’ve spent so much time with activities and work commitments, our relationships have faltered.  Our kids squabble.  I know all kids squabble, but we can tell that much of their fussiness stems from frustration at being too busy and having too little facetime with us.  Sure, I sit at a table for hours a day doing school with them, but then I’m rushing and pushing and pulling to get them going for the next thing on the schedule.  It doesn’t make for many warm cozy moments.

My husband and I don’t get a lot of alone time, either.  With five kids, that’s shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, but we are making a commitment to communicate by more than texts every day.  Now that we have a teenager in the house, we also feel a little freedom to go grab a coffee alone every so often.

It’s going to take some time to strengthen our family, but that’s what life is about for a parent.  Not the extracurricular activities or the Bible studies or the volunteering or the playdates.  Those are great, but they can’t get in the way of the important stuff.  In the words of Steve Martin in Cheaper By the Dozen, “if I screw up raising my kids, nothing I achieve will matter much.”  He’s an insightful guy.  Goofy, but insightful.

So, I’m committed to weeding my dead plants.  I won’t mow them down because some good things might get hurt in the process, but I’m definitely working towards stepping back and focusing on the eternal priorities and not the temporary headaches.

What other dead plants do you have that need to get weeded?


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