Tuesday, August 19, 2008


By Kelly

Last night, as I waited for my brain to turn off and the drowsiness to descend, I read through my journal from last year.

I was sad and slightly startled to see how much depth my writing had 12 months ago. These days, my writing tends toward the surface and the amusing. Nothing wrong with that, inherently. It’s a large part of who I am. I’m always thrilled when good friends tell me my blog is exactly like the real-life me. That’s a compliment.

Yet, I’m not a shallow person. At least, I didn’t use to be.

“I’m forlorn,” I thought to myself as I snuggled under the comforter, drowsiness padding my brain. “Yes, that’s it exactly. I’m forlorn.”

Waking up this morning to sunshine and cereal with blueberries and “Diego’s Moonlight Rescue,” I didn’t feel quite so melancholy. (My sanguine personality wastes little time throwing pity parties. They aren’t fun.)

But the basic premise remains: This year, I’m living. But I’m not delighting. At least, not enough.

I know much of this can be chalked up to the changes of the last year. New house, new city, new baby, new school, new church, new friends, new schedule. New, new, new. Who has time to reflect and ponder and wonder when the dishwasher needs to be unloaded and the dinner needs to be made and the kids need lunch and the baby needs to be held? Oh, and did I mention my husband has been gone at least a week each month on business trips?

Thus, I have been consumed by the urgent, day-to-day details of life. It takes a lot of energy to keep this many plates spinning.

And while I truly love the adventure of the new and the delight of new discoveries – and yes, a part of me even delights in the challenge of keeping the plates spinning – I also miss the old me.

The old me was better at balancing the surface, urgent life with the deep, important life. I was better at playing with my children, instead of excusing myself under the guise of getting another task accomplished. I was better at noticing the simple gifts in my path each day, instead of rushing about, like a chicken desperate to get its fill of grain before the wind blows it away.

I had more margin in my soul. More space. More room to breathe.

How do I get it back?

Kelly also blogs at Love Well.


  1. I know what you mean. Sometimes the plates start spinning and before you know it you can't stop em, or remember how, or even want to.

    Slow down is what I hear. Easier said than done? Yes. Non the less, slow down. Schedule in a trip to the park and run with kids... no books, no chores, no errands. Let the dishes go till dinner, just this once. Take a bath. Sleep in. Start with a few small things and steady those plates one at a time.

  2. I think just being so aware of how you want to change should make a difference. When I feel myself start slipping away from enjoying things to getting my tasks done, I actually put taking the kids to the park or reading stories or playing with trains as part of my to do list. There are so many times when we don't see those things as being productive because we aren't "getting things done." However, as you said, those are the things that are fulfilling, and as a parent and a person, those personal connections are often the most important things we can do all day.

  3. As much as I try to be so deliberate in how I spend my time, this summer it has felt as though I am rushing from one task to the next, just trying to keep my head above water. And now it's over and I feel we haven't quite had enough lazy days of summer. I so get what you mean about living on the surface versus living and really feeling. I need to play and connect more with the kids, and yet in the blink of eye everything can go to pot around here if I'm not constantly on the move. My heart knows which should be more important and take priority but my brain can't turn it off!

    Enjoy your break, enjoy your kids and take a little time to delight! You deserve it.

  4. I often get it back by doing something I'm passionate about (like writing) or just turning off any extra noise that I don't need- such as music, tv, etc. Open the windows if you can or go for a walk. It's almost like it comes naturally if you let it in.


  5. I know EXACTLY what you mean. I have been struggling with the same thing over the last year. Especially when it comes to my depth in my relationship with God. You know there's that verse in the bible that talks about that when women marry, their hearts can no longer be just for God, but are divided? I think that's even more true when we have kids. As we have more and more things that are so important to us and we are so vital to them, we have less and less of ourselves with which to fully focus on God. Not that the expectations of following Christ are lessened, it just takes more EFFORT than it took before to be at the level that we were at before. I'm going to keep at it, hoping to find that depth again.

  6. I can relate. My husband is gone a week out of every month here recently. I hate it especially next week because i start another semester of college. My plate seems full but only going to get fuller with homework, housework, and a toddler keeping me busy. No wonder I have not had more children. That is what I should tell people when they ask!

  7. I can sympathize with the difficulty of having your husband travel, it is hard on everyone in the family!

    I started keeping a gratitude journal and I love how it helps me stay focused on the things I hold dearest.

    Hang in there and don't be too hard on yourself.

    Take care!

  8. This really hits home lately. I love the line, "I had more margin in my soul." I think even waking up (and not to a kid and having 5-10 minutes to just lay in bed and process your thoughts is huge. But, yeah, unplugging a little is key.

  9. It's so hard as moms to take some time for ourselves, but it sounds like that is just what you need.