The times when our kids are cute and when we want to put them in solitary.
When we get the unexpected refund and when the budget is tight.
Because it's all part of the same package. Without struggles, moments of ease have less meaning. And it robs our work when we only write about the pretty parts of life.
* * * * * * *
It's been one of those weeks. Not with my kids---they're great. And not with work, some of my kiddos are making great progress.
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. However, it comes on the tail end of property-tax time, which makes for a very tight season. So tight that it can make a girl's smile a wee bit worn. It's that age-old money demon, coming to taunt once again. We've always been able to make it work, and I trust that this month will be the same.
Some days, it brings me dangerously close to thinking, "Did we make the wrong choices?"
I chose to stay home with my kids.
I choose daily to teach in Christian schools, and Todd chooses to teach at a Christian camp.
The What-Ifs creep in close and fierce, and I push away at their grubby fingers.
I received a letter in the mail yesterday from our Compassion daughter, who lives in a rural region in India. We've been writing to one another for about two years. I love the picture she sent, showing me the things she bought with the money we sent for her birthday. She purchased a new midi (dress), a backpack to help carry her books to school, and a chair. She writes, "a chair will be useful to me while studying at home."
I set the letter down on my dining room table, still extended from Thanksgiving.
I count the chairs...1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...and the spot on the end where we put the piano bench because there "weren't enough seats."
It's not a guilt thing. I don't feel guilty for the pure chance that I was born in this country while she was born in hers.
But it is conviction---and a reminder of all that I take for granted every day.
That taxes are a blessing because it means we own property.
Leftovers are carefully incorporated into future meals, and we have nourishing food to eat.
Bargains are found at thrift shops, and we always have enough clean clothing to wear.
And in this season especially, that Christmas is not measured by the things you can purchase, but in the love and service you are able to give to others.
* * * * * * *
#14...for a hole in the ceiling through which a chimney rises
#15...for R, who reminds me of the gifts I'm given
#16...for water that washes us clean
#17...for the sunshine that streams through the windows and warms the space inside